Piracy and armed robbery of ships in Asian waters fell by 22% in the January-April period of 2024 compared to the same period last year.

The decrease in this type of accident has mainly been caused by increased vigilance by the law-enforcing agencies in the countries with sea borders.

During the first four months of 2024, some 31 incidents took place, according to the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre, an inter-governmental agency working on combating piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia. On the other hand, during the January-April period of the previous year, 40 incidents occurred in Asian waters.

Of the incidents this year until now, 14 occurred in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, the robbery hotspot in Asia, eight in Indonesia, six in Bangladesh, two in India, and one in the Philippines. It seems Bangladesh emerged as another robbery/theft hotspot in Asia this year with already six incidents in Chittagong port adjacent areas.

The ReCAAP ISC recently released the first quarterly report on Piracy and Armed
Robbery against Ships in Asia, pointing out that there were 26 sea robbery incidents in Asia, while in the same period last year, there was one more incident in the region.

Notably, there were 11 incidents in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS) in the first quarter of 2024, a 45% decrease from the 20 incidents reported during January-March 2023.

On 16 April, the ReCAAP ISC conducted the annual Anti-Piracy and Sea Robbery Conference 2024. The conference focused on the growing risks to global shipping caused by piracy, armed robbery against ships, and geopolitical tensions impacting commercial shipping and supply chains, and how Asia and littoral States can respond to these challenges.

Arsenio Dominguez, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), highlighted the importance of timely and accurate information sharing to facilitate timely assistance by enforcement agencies. He also shared IMO’s efforts in ensuring the safety of seafarers and the safe transit of cargo, for the uninterrupted flow of trade.

“The lower number of incidents in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore in the first quarter of 2024 can be largely attributed to better information sharing and coordination among the littoral States, and increased monitoring and enforcement by the authorities,” said Krishnaswamy Natarajan, Executive Director of ReCAAP ISC.

He called on all stakeholders to work together to share information, synergise efforts and protect global shipping against piracy, sea robbery, and other maritime threats.

Sharar Nayel
Asia Correspondent

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