Singapore-based anti-piracy watchdog ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ReCAAP ISC) reported an 18% increase in piracy incidents during the January-August 2015 period from a year ago.
According to ReCAAP ISC’s monthly report, a total of 141 incidents were recorded in the past eight months.
Although there were no piracy incidents recorded in August, there were 24 incidents of armed robbery against ships in the month.
Out of the 24 incidents, 22 were classified as actual incidents, while the other two were attempted incidents. Of the 22 cases, 14 were petty thefts, five were less significant or Category 3 incidents, two were moderately significant or Category 2 incidents, and one was very significant or Category 1 incident.
The Category 1 incident involved the hijacking of Singapore-registered tanker MT Joaquim. The tanker ferrying 3,500 tonnes of fuel oil and was hijacked and had its oil cargo siphoned off on 8 August. The Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) located the tanker on 9 August at about 13.7 n miles off Tanjung Keling, Malaysia. All crew members were safe, although the master and bunker crew were punched in the face by the perpetrators. The Indonesian authority detained a tanker suspected of being used in the hijacking of MT Joaquim off Dumai, Indonesia, on 11 August.
ReCAAP ISC, in its report, commended the regional co-operation of maritime authorities in dealing with the case.
“It is a collective effort by all stakeholders at sea and on land to do their part towards eradicating such incidents at sea, including timely deployment of patrol vessels by the relevant littoral states and increased surveillance in the vicinity,” stated ReCAAP ISC.