Piracy and sea robbery incidents in Asia were up 18% in the first half of 2015, compared with the same period in 2014, piracy reporting centre ReCAAP ISC’S half-yearly report shows.
In particular, there was a substantial increase in the number of petty theft cases on ships sailing in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.
During January-June 2015, 106 incidents were reported in Asia, comprising 100 actual incidents and six attempted incidents. Of the 106 incidents, 11 were piracy incidents that occurred in the South China Sea and 95 were incidents of armed robbery against ships. Amongst these, the number of petty theft incidents was highest during January-June 2015.
Of the 62 incidents of petty theft, 35 occurred onboard ships while under way in the eastbound lane of the traffic separation scheme of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, and 12 onboard ships at ports and anchorages in Vietnam.
Tankers being hijacked by gangs that siphon fuel oil or other oil-based cargoes remains a matter of concern. Many of these tankers are small vessels of below 5,000 gt.
A total of eight incidents of siphoning were reported during January-June 2015 compared with five incidents reported during the same period in 2014.
ReCAAP ISC said, “However, the collective efforts by enforcement agencies, relevant international organisations and shipping industry had produced results, as demonstrated from the arrest of the perpetrators involved in the hijacking of chemical tanker, Sun Birdie on 29 January 15 and product tanker, Orkim Harmony on 11 June 15.”
In the cases of Sun Birdie and Orkim Harmony, the vessels were recovered and the suspected perpetrators were arrested, highlighting the importance of co-operation among regional navies and coast guards.