Asian Piracy Decreased Twenty-Five Percent Last Year

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By The Maritime Executive 01-15-2019 08:17:08

ReCAAP ISC has released its 2018 annual report highlighting that reported piracy incidents in Asia decreased 25 percent year-on-year last year.

There were 76 incidents of piracy and armed robbery reported in Asia between January to December 2018, comprising 62 actual incidents and 14 attempted incidents. This represents a decrease of 25 percent in the total number of incidents and a 31 percent decrease in actual incidents compared to 2017.

It also represents the lowest number of incidents since ReCAAP ISC began keeping records in 2007.

There was improvement at some ports and anchorages in 2018, particularly at the Manila anchorage in the Philippines. Successful arrests of perpetrators were reported in Bangladesh (Chittagong), India (off Alang, Gujarat), Philippines (Manila), Indonesia (Pulau Batam), Malaysia (Pulau Tinggi, Sarawak and off Tambisan, Sabah)

There was no theft of oil cargo in 2018. While there were two incidents of suspicious intent to steal oil cargo reported in June and August 2018, the Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) successfully arrested the mastermind and perpetrators in both incidents

There was also a decrease of incidence of abduction of crew for ransom in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah in 2018. Three incidents (two actual and one attempted incidents) of abduction of crew were reported in 2018 compared to seven incidents (three actual and four attempted incidents) in 2017.

Areas of Concern

There were more than 10 incidents at ports and anchorages  in Chittagong, Bangladesh, and in Samarinda, Indonesia. There were also slight increases reported in Malaysia and Vietnam.

Despite the decrease in the number of incidents in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah, the abduction of crew for ransom remains a serious threat in the area.

Insights from Data Analytics

Over the past 12 years (2007-2018), ReCAAP ISC has collected the data of 1,560 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia. Using data analytics, ReCAAP ISC has made several observations on the incidents:

•  The majority of the incidents involved four to six perpetrators (34 percent) or one to three perpetrators (24 percent)

•  The most commonly used weapons were knives/machetes. The weapons were often used to cut mooring ropes and remove items on the deck such as life/floating buoys, fire hose, etc

•  More than 81 percent of the incidents reported that the crew did not suffer from any injures or there was no information on the condition of the crew

•  In 32 percent of the incidents, nothing was stolen by perpetrators who escaped empty-handed when sighted by the crew

•  The most common stolen items were ship stores (e.g. ropes, paint, lubricating oil/grease, etc)

•  There was no evidence to suggest that certain types of ships were targeted, but  63 percent of incidents occurred on board either tankers or bulk carriers

•  Most of the incidents occurred during hours of darkness: 60 percent of incidents occurred between 0000-0600 hours and 20 percent between 1900-2400 hours.