ReCAAP Calls for Strict Law Enforcement To Curb Piracy and Armed Robbery

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  • A total of 51 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships (comprising 50 actual
    incidents and one attempted incident) were reported in Asia during January-June 2020
    compared to 28 incidents (comprising 25 actual incidents and three attempted incidents)
    during January-June 2019.
  • This accounts for close to a two-fold increase in the total number of incidents reported during JanuaryJune 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.
  • Of the 51 incidents, 49 were incidents of armed robbery against ships and two were
    piracy incidents.

A recent half-yearly report published by Recapp deals with the half-yearly report of Piracy and Armed Robbery against ships.

Increase in incidents during January-June 2020

The increase of incidents during January-June 2020 occurred in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, South China Sea and Singapore Strait.

Of concern was the continued increase of incidents on board ships while underway in the Singapore Strait during January-June 2020 with 16 incidents, compared to eight incidents
during the same period in 2019.

No incident reported in China

However, there was improvement at the ports/anchorages in China with no incident
reported during January-June 2020, compared to three incidents during the same period in
2019. There were also arrests of perpetrators at Chittagong Anchorage in Bangladesh, off
Gujarat and Alang in India, off Pulau Batam, Indonesia and in the Singapore Strait.

The situation of abduction of crew

The situation of abduction of crew in the SuluCelebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah
remains a serious concern as demonstrated by the abduction incident on a fishing trawler on 17 Jan 20 off Lahad Datu, Sabah, Malaysia and information of planned kidnapping activities by members of the Abu Sayyaf Group in Sabah and Semporna, Malaysia targeting foreigners and crew of ships passing by the Tawi-Tawi and Sabah waters.

Five of the crew abducted

Five of the crew abducted from the fishing trawler on 17 Jan are still held in captivity. Shipping companies are advised to follow the ReCAAP ISC’s ‘Guidance on Abduction of Crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and Waters off Eastern Sabah’ and maintain communication with the Operation Centres of the Philippines and Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) of Malaysia.

ReCAAP responds 

In view of the increase of incidents in the locations as indicated in this Report, the ReCAAP ISC reiterates the need for law enforcement agencies to enhance surveillance, increase patrols and respond promptly to incidents reported by ships in order to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators.

Ship masters and crew are strongly advised to exercise vigilance, maintain constant lookout for suspicious boats in the vicinity, report all incidents immediately to the nearest coastal State, and implement preventive measures recommended in the ‘Regional Guide to
Counter Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships in Asia’.

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Source: Recaap

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