Southeast Asia Initiates Rapid Response Force To Piracy
Malaysia and Indonesia formed a joint rapid deployment team to respond to the increasing piracy incidents in the region. The joint force was established August 21 as Southeast Asia has become a hotbed for maritime piracy during the past year.
The Indonesian Navy is based on Batam Island and intends to deploy two armed BO helicopters in an effort to secure the Malacca Strait. There have already been 56 cases of piracy in the Malacca Strait this year. The Malaysian side is based in Johor and will support the piracy efforts with one helicopter.
The rise in Southeast Asian piracy has prompted ASEAN nations to establish a permanent security presence. Last weekend, pirates attacked six vessels in the Malacca and Singapore straits. Authorities believe the same group was involved in each incident.
Earlier this month, Singapore-flagged Joaquim was hijacked and it was later found without its 3,500 tons of fuel it was transporting to Pulau Langwai, Malaysia. The missing cargo is valued at $700,000.
In July, Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) said that incidents of piracy and armed robbery has risen by 18 percent in 2015 over last year in the same period. There have already been 106 incidents reported between January and June 2015 while there were only 90 in 2014.