Anti-piracy watchdog ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre has reported a 19% rise in reported incidents in Asia from April to May this year.
Of the 20 incidents, two were categorised as ‘acts of piracy’ and 18 incidents were ‘robbery onboard ship’, according to ReCAAP ISC definitions. Fourteen of the incidents occurred onboard ships while underway and six onboard ships at anchor or berth.
In terms of geographical location, 11 of these incidents occurred in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS), of which one was an attempt only, while 10 were actual incidents. There was also a Category 1 or very significant incident involving the siphoning of fuel from a Singapore-registered petroleum product tanker, Ocean Energy, in the Straits of Malacca. In contrast, other incidents were more opportunistic as the perpetrators were targeting ship stores that were movable and easily removed, such as paints, ropes, or coils.
Similar to previous trends, most incidents reported in the SOMS have concentrated near the eastbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS). For instance, eight of 11 incidents were reported in the eastbound lane of the TSS in May 2015 alone.
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In the South China Sea, two cases were reported in May 2015, with one petty theft incident and the other a Category 1 incident involving siphoning onboard Malaysian-registered product tanker Oriental Glory.
The remaining seven incidents occurred in other parts of Asia such as near coastal areas of India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. ReCAAP ISC raised concerns at the continued occurrence of siphoning incidents with two cases reported in May 2015, onboard Ocean Energy and Oriental Glory, and the increase in incidents onboard ships while underway in the SOMS.
The anti-piracy organisation “urges all vessels to exercise enhanced vigilance while transiting the area, and to make timely report of all incidents to the nearest coastal state”.