A total of 29 incidents of armed robbery against ships (comprising 28 actual incidents and one attempted incident) were reported in Asia during January to March 2020, the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against ships in Asia (ReCAAP) said in its latest situation report.
This is compared to 10 incidents (comprising nine actual incidents and one attempted incident) during January to March 2019.
This accounts for a three-fold increase in the total number of incidents reported during the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.
All incidents reported during 1Q2020 were armed robbery against ships. No piracy incident was reported.
Locations of increase of incidents
The increase of incidents during 1Q2020 occurred in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Singapore Strait.
Three incidents were reported in Bangladesh during January-March 2020 compared to no incident during January-March 2019.
Six incidents were reported in India during January-March 2020 compared to no incident during the same period in 2019.
In Indonesia, six incidents were reported during January-March 2020 compared to three incidents during the same period in 2019.
In the Philippines, four incidents were reported during January-March 2020 compared to two incidents during the same period in 2019.
Of concern was the continued increase of incidents on board ships while underway in the Singapore Strait during January-March 2020; nine incidents were reported in the Singapore Strait during January-March 2020 compared to two incidents during the same period in 2019.
Locations of improvement
There was improvement at the ports/anchorages in China. No incident was reported in China during January-March 2020 compared to three incidents during January-March 2019.
There were also arrests of perpetrators off Gujarat in India, at Chittagong Anchorage in Bangladesh, and in the Singapore Strait (pictured).
Abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah
The situation of abduction of crew remains a serious concern as the risk of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah is high as demonstrated by the occurrence of an incident on January 17, 2020 off Lahad Datu, Sabah, Malaysia.
Five of the crew abducted from the fishing trawler are still held in captivity.
Shipping companies are advised to follow the ReCAAP Information Sharine Centre’s (ISC) Incident Alert dated November 21, 2016 and maintain communication with the Operation Centres of the Philippines and Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) of Malaysia.
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