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ReCAAP: Piracy incidents drop to ten-year low

A total of 64 incidents of
piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported in Asia during
January-September 2018, according to Asia’s piracy watchdog ReCAAP.

Of the 64 incidents,
comprising 50 actual incidents and 14 attempted incidents, three were incidents
of piracy and 61 were incidents of armed robbery against ships. The number
of actual incidents reported during the period was the lowest among the 10-year
period of January-September of 2009-2018, ReCAAP said.
Compared to
January-September 2017, there was a 3% increase in the total number of
incidents reported during January-September 2018.
Despite the slowdown in
pirate activity, the piracy watchdog warned that the threat of abduction of
crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas, and waters off Eastern Sabah remains.
Namely, two incidents,
comprising one actual incident and one attempted incident, were reported during
January-September 2018 compared to seven incidents reported during the
same period in 2017. The most recent attack saw two fishermen abducted
from a fishing boat Sri Dewi 1 on
September 11.
Since March 2016 till
September 2018, a total of 63 crew had been abducted. Of these, 33 had been
released, 15 rescued, seven killed and as of 30 Sep 18, eight crew are still in
captivity, ReCAAP’s data shows. The Philippine authorities continue to conduct
pursuit operations and military operations to rescue the abducted crew.
ReCAAP added that the
increase in incidents on board ships at ports and anchorages in Chittagong,
Bangladesh and off Samarinda in East Kalimantan, Indonesia; as well as on board
ships while underway in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS) was a
concerning trend.
“Ships are strongly advised
to enhance vigilance against presence of suspicious boats; and enforcement
agencies are requested to enhance patrol and surveillance in areas of concern
and make quick response to all incidents. Ships at slow speed and low freeboard
such as fishing boats and tug boats are mostly boarded, but bigger merchant
ships can be also targeted as occurred in the past,”
 ReCAAP warned.
 World Maritime News.

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