The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) is the first regional government-to-government agreement to promote and enhance cooperation against piracy and armed robbery in Asia. In its Annual Report for 2015, the following data regarding piracy and armed robbery against ships are discussed.
A total of 200 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships (comprising 187 actual incidents and 13 attempted incidents) were reported to the ReCAAP ISC in 2015. Of these, 11 were acts of piracy and 189 were incidents of armed robbery against ships. Compared to 2014, there has been a 7% increase in total number of incidents in 2015.
Incidents reported in 2015 has been less severe comparing to 2014; with relatively lesser number of incidents involving more than 9 perpetrators, lesser cases involving perpetrators who were armed; and lesser incidents with reports that crew was threatened, held hostage and assaulted.
Of the 200 incidents, 60% (120) incidents occurred on board ships while underway, and 40% (80) on board ships while at anchor/berth. More than 50% of the total number of incidents reported in 2015 occurred in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS) on board ships while underway. A total of 104 incidents were reported there, of which more than half of them were CAT 4 incidents. However, no actual incident had been reported in the straits since November 2015, probably as a result of an increase in patrolling and surveillance carried out by the littoral States who had also arrested perpetrators responsible for some of the incidents.
While the situation at most ports and anchorages in Asia has improved in 2015 compared to 2014; Vietnam reported an increase in number of incidents, particularly at the Vung Tau port/anchorage with 60% of the total number of incidents in Vietnam occurred there.
Incidents involving hijacking of tankers for theft of oil cargo were mostly CAT 1 incidents; and a total of 12 incidents had been reported in 2015, of which two incidents were foiled by the authorities. However, no incidents involving hijacking of tankers had been reported since September 2015. Attributing to this could be the arrests of the masterminds and perpetrators responsible for some of the incidents reported in 2015.
Continuous zeal among the littoral States and cooperation between the authorities and shipping industry demonstrates the determination and commitment in clamping down this illegal maritime crime. With decline in the number of incidents reported in the last quarter of 2015; and more perpetrators being put to task; more need to be done to bring about further decrease in the number of incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia.