Piracy in Asia hits 10-year low

19 July 2018

The number of reported piracy and armed robbery cases in Asia dropped to its lowest in 10 years over the first six months of this year.

Between January and June there were 40 reported incidents of piracy and armed robbery, including 29 actual incidents and 11 attempts. As well as being a 10-year low for this period, this was a 15% year-on-year reduction.

There were also no incidents of crew abductions or theft of oil cargo, a decrease in the number of incidents in the Philippines and a number of successful arrests and recoveries of stolen property made during the six-month period.

The figures were collected and released by the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP), an intergovernmental organisation, in its half-year report.

Masafumi Kuroki, executive director of the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre, said: “Looking back to the number of incidents in 2017, which increased by 16% compared to 2016, the 15% decrease in the first half of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017 is welcome news.

“Nonetheless, continued vigilance by all stakeholders is an effective deterrence to maritime crime, and we urge heightened measures to be taken in the areas of concern.”

These areas of concern include the Singapore Strait and ports and anchorages in Vietnam where there were slight increases in the number of incidents. The Strait saw four incidents in 2018, up from two in 2017, while Vietnamese ports saw two, up from none.

Over the past 11 years that ReCAAP has been analysing data on piracy and armed robbery in the region, 91% of the 122 reported incidents have happened in the Singapore Strait, with just 9% happening in the Malacca Strait. Perpetrators were only known to be armed in less than a third (30%) of cases and there were no reported injuries to crew in the majority (83%) of cases.

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