Here be pirates: Why Southeast Asia needs to boost maritime cooperation

Elliot Brennan

On 1 April, a Malaysia-flagged tanker was attacked and hijacked by 15 to 25 armed pirates off the coast of Borneo. The crew was held hostage at gunpoint while the pirates transferred the tanker’s gas cargo to their own vessel before escaping. The incident, reported in the International Maritime Bureau’s report this week on Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships, is just one of a growing number of hijackings and maritime robbery incidents across Southeast Asia. 

On Wednesday, the Bureau, a division of the International Chamber of Commerce, released data for the first six months of the year. It shows a further escalation of a worrying trend in maritime piracy and armed robbery in Southeast Asia.

According to the report, some 92 of the 134 incidents at sea in the first six months of the year occurred in Southeast Asia*. The report shows a significant increase of incidents in Southeast Asia from the same period last year, up from 66 to 92.

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