Singapore-headquartered anti-piracy watchdog ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ReCAAP ISC) reported a total of 38 piracy and armed robbery incidents against ships in the first quarter of 2015. Three of these were attempted incidents.
The number of reported incidents in the first quarter of 2015 increased 23.7% from the lowest figure – 29 incidents – reported during the same period in 2013.
Of the 38 incidents, four were piracy incidents, all reported in the South China Sea (SCS), while 34 were incidents of armed robberies on board ships. Out of the 34 incidents, 12 occurred on board ships at anchor/berth, mostly at Vietnam ports and anchorages, and 22 on board ships while under way, mostly in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.
Five of the incidents belonged to Category 1 (CAT 1) or very significant, six cases were classified as Category 2 (CAT 2) or moderately significant, while four cases were Category 3 (CAT 3) or less significant incident, while the remaining 20 cases were petty thefts incidents.
Comparing the first quarters of 2011-15, the number of petty thefts reported in 2015 is the highest among all, while the number of Category 2 and Category 3 incidents had decreased, and no Category 1 incidents were reported during the first quarters of 2012-14.
Overall, there has been an 18% increase in the number of incidents in Asia, said ReCAAP, which is largely attributed to the increase in incidents reported in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore and at ports and anchorages in Vietnam.
Shipowners and masters are encouraged by ReCAAP to report all incidents/ suspicious activities to the nearest coastal state immediately.