ReCAAP Issues Call for the Industry to Effectively Address Piracy Threats

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The ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC) held a dialogue with the shipping industry to share the latest situation of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia, as well as efforts by the littoral States to address armed robbery against ships in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS).

The dialogue was attended by the Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), Information Fusion Centre (IFC), representatives of shipping associations and shipping companies. During the dialogue, the MPA and IFC updated on the enhanced measures and cooperative efforts with their counterparts of the littoral States in addressing sea robbery in the SOMS.

According to information in IMO’s GISIS module on piracy and armed robbery, 150 incidents were reported to the Organization as having occurred or been attempted in 2023. According to the data, the area most affected by acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships in 2023 was the Straits of Malacca and Singapore area (85 incidents).

The SOMS, which continues to see the occurrence of incidents in 2024, remains an area of concern for the shipping industry. On this note, INTERTANKO (International Association of Independent Tanker Owners) updated dialogue participants on the assocation’s recent engagements with Indonesian government agencies on maritime security concerns.

Participants also discussed the need for more timely reporting of incidents by ship masters, and the role which shipping agents can play in reporting incidents to authorities and assisting with follow up investigations.

The ReCAAP ISC updated on the situation of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia (ARAS) for January – June 2024. A total of 51 incidents of piracy and ARAS in Asia was reported in the first half of 2024, a 16% decrease compared to 61 incidents in the same period last year.

The Straits of Malacca and Singapore has witnessed about 50% reduction in incidents of sea robbery. This is owing to enhanced surveillance and the arrests made by the littoral States of SOMS.

The Centre also updated on new initiatives to assist the shipping industry in timely and accurate incident reporting and information sharing. These include:

i) The ReCAAP Data Visualisation Map and Panel or Re-VAMP, an online dashboard which enables shipmasters to correlate different data sets of past and current incidents of piracy and sea robbery in Asia, derive key insights, institute preventive measures, and make informed risk assessments prior to a voyage.

ii) Poster with updated contact details of Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCCs) in Asia, and poster containing updated contact details of law enforcement agencies in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS). These posters make it easier for shipmasters to render timely and accurate reporting of incident to local authorities to facilitate swift response by the law enforcement agencies.

iii) An enhanced mobile app which enables the simultaneous reporting of incidents to the MRCC of coastal States, ReCAAP ISC and ReCAAP Focal Points/Contact Point to enable speedy assistance from authorities.

iv) Version 2 of Guide Book on Identification of Fishing Boats in Asian Waters. Shipmasters can refer to the guide to describe the perpetrator’s vessel when making incident reports. A detailed description of the perpetrator’s vessel helps law enforcement agencies in the investigation and arrest of criminal.

ReCAAP ISC Executive Director, Krishnaswamy Natarajan, explained that overall, the piracy and sea robbery situation in the Asian region, including the SOMS, has improved in the first half of 2024, compared to the same period last year. This, according to Krishnaswamy Natarajan, can be attributed to concerted efforts by maritime stakeholders, stricter monitoring and enforcement by the law enforcement agencies of coastal States, and proactive reporting of incidents by shipmasters and shipping companies. The momentum needs to be maintained and all parties should not lower their guard.

“Notwithstanding the lower number of incidents in Asia, ReCAAP ISC notes that there has been a higher number of incidences of petty theft reported at some ports and anchorages from January to June 2024, compared to the first half of 2023. This has to be dealt with by the port authorities and law enforcement agencies of coastal States”, added ISC’s Executive Director.

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Source: SAFETY4SEA