The incidences of piracy and hijacking are increasing in Southeast Asia. The prevailing oil demand and thriving black market could be responsible for the maritime attacks in the region.
Protection Vessels International (PVI) is the world’s leading private maritime security company that had reported an increase in the number of incidences of piracy and armed robbery involving Southeast Asian pirates. These pirates target small tankers and siphons fuel from their victims. So far at least 20,270 metric tons of fuel has been lost this year at an estimated cost $10 million to these cases of piracy.
Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) reported that these kinds of cases have jumped to 18 percent in the first half of 2015. There were 106 incidents reported between January and June 2015 as against 90 last year. Of the 106 incidents, 11 were targeted in fuel and oil attacks. The product tanker Lapin had a loss of 2,000 tons of fuel in the month of February.
Joaquim, Singapore-flagged vessel was the latest victim of this trend where 3,500 tons of fuel was stolen on its en route to Pulau Langwai, Malaysia valued at $700,000. Another serious hijack incident involving Orkim Harmony happened in June. The attack was plotted by 13 pirates who boarded the vessel, took command of the bridge and deactivated the ship’s Automatic Identification System (AIS). The vessel was found eight days later and eight of the pirates were arrested.
PGI Risk Portal, a risk management solutions company, has informed that 11 percent of the world’s maritime hijacking takes place in Malaysian and Indonesian waters. Though the scale of these robberies is small, it is a reflection of growing trend in Asia. The hijacking cases in the Malaccan and Singapore Straits are increasing due to the congested areas that offer ideal opportunities for pirates to board tankers. So far there has been a report of 13 hijacking cases from such areas in 2015.