Southeast Asian Piracy Continues Unabated

Pirate with Tanker

Published Jun 12, 2015 12:05 AM by Kathryn Stone

The rise in piracy in Southeast Asia continues unabated, according to latest report by anti-piracy watchdog ReCAAP.

May saw a 19% increase in reported incidents compared with April. This figure also roughly corresponds to the increase in successful pirate attempts compared with May 2014. The majority of recent incidents reported occurred in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore hot-spot.

Image Courtesy of ReCAAP

Overall 2015 has seen the highest instance of actual pirate attacks in five years, with 75 reported incidents. It has also seen a record number of ‘very significant’ events involving siphoning of ship fuel oil.

Both the Ocean Energy product tanker and the Oriental Glory had fuel stolen in May. The attack on the Ocean Energy occurred in the Malacca Strait and resulted in a loss of 2,023 metric tons of gas oil. The attack on the Oriental Glory happened in eastern Malaysia. Pirates stole over 2,500 metric tons of ship fuel in this second incident.

Attacks in other piracy hot-spots such as Somalia and the western Indian Ocean have decreased over the past two years due to heightened military patrols and the use of armed guards. However, the opposite has proven true in Southeast Asia. Of the 5,009 seafarers attacked by pirates in 2014 almost 73% occurred in the waters of Southeast Asia.

A recent Oceans Beyond Piracy report noted the distinct characteristics of Asian piracy attacks consisted of a blatant disregard for seafarer welfare, which included physical abuse in 28% of incidents.

ReCAAP has stressed for local law enforcement agencies to increase patrols and surveillance activities as well as to launch immediate actions against pirates involved in serious incidents and petty theft.

The May 2015 ReCAAP report can be accessed here