Grim reading from ReCAAP
ReCAAP ISC Urges Heightened Vigilance as Total Number of Incidents of Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia Increased in 2017 Compared to 2016
Annual Report (January-December 2017) released at 9th Nautical Forum, ReCAAP ISC’s annual dialogue with maritime, diplomatic and business communities
The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia Information Sharing Centre (ReCAAP ISC) today released its Annual (January-December 2017) Report at the 9th Nautical Forum held in Singapore.
Highlights of the ReCAAP ISC Annual Report (January-December 2017), whose information is verified by the respective government agencies, also known as Focal Points, and regional authorities, include:
• There was an increase in the number of incidents reported in 2017 compared to 2016
• A total of of 101 incidents (comprising 89 actual incidents and 12 attempted incidents) were reported in 2017 compared to 85 incidents in 2016
• This accounted for a 19% increase in the number of incidents reported in 2017 compared to 2016
• Of the incidents reported in 2017, the majority, i.e. 85 (84%) were armed robbery against ships, while 16 (16%) were piracy incidents
• Two-thirds of the incidents occurred at anchor/berth (68 incidents), while one-third of the incidents occurred on board ships while underway (33 incidents)
• There was a decrease in number of incidents at ports and anchorages in India, Malaysia and Vietnam compared to 2016
• There was a decrease in the number of incidents of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas in 2017 (3 actual incidents) compared to 2016 (10 actual incidents)
• In terms of the severity level of incidents, there was a decline in the number of the most severe incidents (CAT 1) in 2017 compared to the past three years (2014-2016)
o The number of CAT 1 incidents has reduced by more than 50% in 2017 (6 incidents) compared to 2016 (13 incidents).
Areas of Concern
• The following areas saw an increase in incidents in 2017
o Ports/anchorages in Chittagong and off Kutubdia Island, Bangladesh (11 incidents)
o Ports/anchorages in Batangas and Manila, Philippines (17 incidents)
o South China Sea (anchored & underway) (12 incidents)
o Straits of Malacca & Singapore (9 incidents)
• Also of concern was the continued occurrence of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas, although the latest actual incident was in March 2017 (3 incidents in 2017 compared to 10 in 2016)
• There was also occurrence of hijacking of ship for theft of oil cargo (3)
The annual statistics and analysis were shared at the 9th Nautical Forum held today in Singapore, jointly organized by ReCAAP ISC, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore and the Singapore Shipping Association.
In addition to the 2017 statistics, topics discussed at the forum included:
• ‘Update of the abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas’ by LT Al-Hafidz Bih, Assistant Deputy Chief of Coast Guard Staff for Intelligence, Security and Law Enforcement (CG-2) of the Philippines Coast Guard
• ‘Incidents of Oil Cargo Theft’ by CAPT Sahapon Praserttheeraphong, Deputy Director, Maritime Law Enforcement Operations Division, Naval Operations Department and attached to Plan and Policy directorate of the Thailand Maritime Enforcement Coordinating Centre (Thai-MECC)
• ‘Perspective on Piracy in Africa and Asia’ by Mr. Malcolm Brown, Director, UK National Maritime Information Centre, who is also UK Governor to the ReCAAP ISC Governing Council
The 9th Nautical Forum saw more than 150 participants from shipping companies, industry associations, government/regulatory agencies, diplomatic missions as well as academic institutions.
“While the number of incidents in 2017 continue to be among the lowest in the past decade, the increase that occurred over the last year is a reminder that there is no room for complacency in the fight against piracy and armed robbery against ships, and underscores the need for enhanced vigilance among all stakeholders,” said Masafumi Kuroki, Executive Director of ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre.
“The capacity of the maritime enforcement authorities is critical in dealing with the threat of piracy and sea robbery, and ReCAAP ISC will continue to work with our Focal Points and other enforcement agencies through our capacity building programs to help them become more effective,” Masafumi Kuroki added.