OVERALL NUMBER of incidents reported during January-March of 2015 in Asia has increased to 38 from the lowest of 29 incidents reported during the same period in 2013, states ReCAAP ISC.
Of the 38 incidents, four were incidence of piracy and 34 were robberies onboard ships. Of concern was the number of most severe incidents of siphoning of ship fuel/oil; and the increasing number of incidents (mainly petty theft in nature) in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS) and at some ports and anchorages in Vietnam.
Notably, the number of incidents in the SOMS during the 1st Quarter of 2015 has doubled compared to the same period in 2014. The ReCAAP ISC urges the littoral States to step up surveillance; and ship masters and crew to exercise enhanced vigilance when their ships were underway in the straits.
Of the 38 incidents, two were hijacking incidents, four were siphoning of ship fuel/oil, 29 were boarding incidents and three were attempted boarding.
Treatment of Crew
Notably, majority (83%) of the incidents reported no injury sustained by crew or there was no report that crew was injured. However, there was one incident of the crew being abandoned into life rafts. Another three incidents reported that the crew was held hostage by perpetrators to prevent them from reporting the incident to the authorities; namely Global Aquarious on 31 Jan 15, Sun Birdie on 29 Jan 15 and Lapin on 13 Feb 15. Others included crew of Egret Oasis being assaulted, and crew onboard Fujitrans World threatened.
With increase in incidents reported at some ports and anchorages in Vietnam, more stringent enforcement of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) code, and active patrolling by the relevant agencies are advocated.
The ReCAAP ISC is concerned about the situation in SOMS, especially with six incidents occurred within a span of 10 days (21-30 Mar 15). Although majority of the incidents were less severe in nature, the ReCAAP ISC urges the littoral States to enhance its ongoing joint coordinated patrol, increase patrols and surveillance in order to arrest perpetrators operating in the area.
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