A total of 36 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships, comprising 30 actual and six attempted incidents, were reported during January-June 2017 in Asia, a decrease of 22 percent year-on-year, local piracy watchdog ReCAAP said.
Of the 30 incidents, 13 occurred on board tankers, eight on board bulk carriers, three on board offshore supply vessels, three on board tug boats, two on board containerships and one on board a fishing boat/trawler. The data indicates that no particular type of ship was targeted by pirates.
According to ReCAAP, a major concern remains to be crew abductions from ships while underway in the Sulu-Celebes Sea and waters off Eastern Sabah.
Seven incidents, including four attempted crew abductions, were reported during the first four months this year, with no incidents in May and June. As of 30 Jun 17, 18 crew are still being held in captivity out of the 59 crew being abducted since March 2016.
“The ReCAAP ISC reiterates its advice that all ships re-route from the area, where possible. Otherwise, ship masters and crew are strongly urged to exercise enhanced vigilance while transiting the area and report immediately to the relevant centres,” the watchdog said in a report.
The reduction in piracy incidents comes on the back of establishment of a trilateral maritime patrol agreement to address the increasing incidence of piracy, armed robbery against ships, kidnapping of crew at sea and other transnational crimes along the shared borders of Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines on June 19, 2017.
In dealing with the increasing threats to ships transiting the Sulu-Celebes Sea, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has also implemented several regulations and guidelines with strict enforcement in security and safety measures to prevent potential abductors from boarding ships.
In addition, the Philippine authorities continued search and rescue operations of the abducted crew and neutralizing of the militant groups responsible for the kidnappings. During the first half of this year, the Philippine authorities rescued nine crew (five crew of Serudong 3 in March 2017, two crew of Super Shuttle in March 2017, one crew of Ramona 2 in June 2017 and one crew of Royal 16 in June 2017).