ReCAAP ISC reports a decline in the number of piracy and robbery at sea incidents in Asia for July 2015, a 38% decrease on July 2014.
A total of 10 incidents of armed robbery against ships were reported in Asia. Of these, eight were actual incidents and two were attempted incidents. No piracy incident was reported. Graph 1 shows the number of incidents reported in July 2015 compared to the same period in the past four years (2011-2014). Notably, the number of incidents reported in July 2015 has decreased by 41% and 38% compared to July 2013 and July 2014 respectively.
No Incident Involving Siphoning of Ship Fuel/oil
Of the 10 incidents reported in July 2015, one was a Category 2 incident, one was a Category 3 incident, six were petty theft incidents and two were attempted incidents. No Category 1 incident was reported in July 2015; unlike in July 2014 when three Category 1 incidents were reported, of which two involved siphoning of ship fuel/oil. See Chart 1. This is the first time since January 2015 when no siphoning of ship fuel/oil was known to have had occurred. During January-June 2015, a total of 11 such incidents had been reported. The recent arrest of eight perpetrators involved in the hijacking and siphoning of fuel from Orkim Harmony in the South China Sea on 11 Jun 15 could be the reason for no such incident reported in July 2015; probably a result of the perpetrators/syndicate operating in that area chose to lie low for a period of time, amidst heightened precautionary measures being taken by ship owners / masters and some other counter-piracy measures taken by the relevant authorities.
Location of Incidents
Of the 10 incidents reported in July 2015, five incidents occurred onboard ships while underway in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS), two onboard ships while anchored at Vietnam ports/anchorages (Ho Chi Minh, Vung Tau), one onboard ship anchored at Kandla anchorage, India; one onboard a barge towed by a supply vessel off the coast of Tanjung Kelasa, Malaysia; and one onboard ship anchored off Pulau Batam. Refer to Map 3 on the location of these incidents.
The number of incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia in July 2015 has decreased compared to the same period in past two years (2013 and 2014). Although there is no siphoning of fuel/oil incident reported in July 2015, there is no room for complacency, but instead the ReCAAP ISC will continue to work hard with the regional enforcement agencies, shipping industry and INTERPOL towards eradicating such maritime crime. The situation at Vung Tau Anchorage, Vietnam warrants collective and cooperative efforts by the port authorities, enforcement agencies and shipping industry; each playing its part to prevent boarding by perpetrators who were interested in stealing ship stores, including paint, ropes and spare parts.
The improvement in the situation in SOMS could be attributed to the increase in presence of enforcement agencies and better situational awareness of ship masters and crew transiting the area. The joint coordinated Malacca Strait Patrol (MSP) conducted by the littoral States in SOMS is but one of the countermeasure efforts undertaken in combating armed robbery onboard ships in that region.
Though a larger percentage of the incidents are deemed to be “petty theft” in nature, more needs to be done to prevent further escalation of such incidents, whether in terms of number or severity level.
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