17 per cent increase in total number piracy cases in the Asian region during 2020

2021-01-15 17:47:23 Shipping News

There was a total of 97 incidents of piracy and armed robbery reported in Asia during the calendar year 2020, comprising 95 actual incidents and 2 attempted incidents.  This represents an increase of 17 per cent in the total number of incidents and a 32 per cent increase in actual incidents, compared to 2019 according to the annual report of ReCAAP information sharing centre, the Singapore based anti piracy group.

The increase of incidents occurred in Bangladesh, India, the Philippines, Vietnam, South China Sea and Singapore Strait. 

Of the 97 incidents, 93 were armed robbery against ships, while 4 were piracy.

Despite the increase of incidents, the severity level of incidents (violence to crew, stolen items) remained moderate. There was one CAT1 (the most severe) incident, while 74 per cent of incidents were CAT4 (perpetrators not armed and crew not harmed).

Areas of Concern

Singapore Strait

A total of 34 incidents (compared to 31 in 2019) occurred in the Singapore Strait, of which 30 occurred in eastbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS).

Sulu-Celebes Seas

There was one incident of abduction of crew from ships in 2020. However, the threat of abduction of crew still remains in the area. Since March 2016, a total of 86 crew were abducted in the area. As of today, 4 of them still remain in captivity.

Areas of Improvement

There was some improvement at anchorages in China (no incident in 2020 compared to three in 2019) and Malaysia (three incidents in 2020 compared to eight in 2019)

Some perpetrators were arrested in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and the Singapore Strait.

The Annual Report 2020 was released at the 12th Nautical

“The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of shipping for global trade. The 32% year-on-year increase in the actual incidents in 2020 is a stark reminder that more needs be done to enhance the safety of maritime transport and safeguard the well-being of crew,” said Mr. Masafumi Kuroki, Executive Director of ReCAAP ISC.

We urge the littoral States to take seriously petty theft and sea robbery

“Beyond vigilance, timely reporting by ships, enhanced patrol by enforcement agencies, as well as cooperation between littoral States, we believe that arrest and bringing perpetrators to justice is an essential deterrence to stop the increase of incidents.  We urge the littoral States to take seriously petty theft and sea robbery because leaving criminals to continue their crime with impunity will only embolden them to escalate their acts,” concluded Mr. Masafumi Kuroki.

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