ReCAAP: Asian Maritime Crimes Down 48 Pct in 1st Quarter

Piracy and armed robbery against ships dropped by 48% in Asia during January-March 2018, regional piracy watchdog ReCAAP ISC informed.

A total of 14 incidents were reported, comprising nine actual incidents and five attempted incidents, against a total of 27 incidents reported during January-March 2017.

ReCAAP informed that the change was due to the decrease in incidents at ports and anchorages in Bangladesh and Philippines. There was also no actual incident of abduction of crew in the Sulu Celebes Sea and no hijacking of ships for theft of oil cargo during January-March 2018.

The incidents reported during the period were relatively less severe compared to the same period in 2017 as there were no reports of CAT 1 and CAT 2 incidents.

However, of concern was the report of an attempted incident involving the Kudos 1 in the Sulu-Celebes Sea on February 16, 2018. Due to the vigilance of the crew, effective counter-measures, and timely distress signals by the ship as well as immediate response by the authorities, the perpetrators failed to board the ship.

Of the 14 incidents reported during January-March 2018, 10 incidents occurred on board ships while at anchor/berth, and four incidents on board ships while underway. Five of the nine actual incidents reported during January-March 2018 occurred on board bulk carriers at ports and anchorages.

The improvement in the situation of armed robbery against ships was most apparent at ports and anchorages in Bangladesh and Philippines. However, the number of incidents at Vietnam’s port/anchorage and in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore has increased slightly.

Three incidents were reported off the port of Chittagong and Kutubdia Island, Bangladesh, while only one incident was reported in the South Harbour Anchorage Area, Manila, the Philippines. There were no reports of incidents at Batangas port during the three-month period.

In Vietnam two incidents were reported at ports and anchorages, compared to none during the same period in 2017. The incidents occurred at Go Dau port and Cam Pha loading anchorage.

Two attempted incidents were also reported in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore during January-March 2018, compared to one attempted incident reported in the same period a year earlier.

As of March 31, 2018, nine crew members are still held in captivity. The Philippine authorities continue to conduct pursuit operations and intensify its military operations to rescue the abducted crew and neutralize the militant group.