SE Asian piracy really has spiked

Examining all data shows a clear increase.

Yes, Southeast Asian piracy really has spiked

Earlier this month, Sam Bateman’s post (Is Southeast Asia Really a Piracy Hotspot?) questioned my examination of International Maritime Bureau (IMB) data which indicates a rise in piracy and incidents at sea in Southeast Asia. It was a welcome prompt to further reinforce my arguments that Southeast Asia is a global hotspot for piracy and armed robbery at sea, that the region could face considerable problems related to criminality associated with such incidents, and that maritime cooperation is complicated by maritime disputes with China.

Bateman favours data from the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia  (ReCAAP) rather than the IMB data which I cite. Both the ReCAAP and IMB data, which rely on vessels to report incidents, have discrepancies. That alone should prompt us to welcome more data sources. Bateman himself ‘relied on’ IMB data (and not ReCAAP data) to support his maritime security risk assessment in a recent ISEAS journal article.

While all data has its failings (on this, my views are Disraeli-esque), one should be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

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