According to Singapore-headquartered anti-piracy watchdog ReCAAP, compared to February figures of 2011-2014 period, the number of incidents reported in February 2015 is lowest among February stats of the five-year reporting period.
A total of 11 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported in Asia in February 2015. Among these, one was an incident of piracy and 10 were armed robberies against ships. There were no attempted incidents reported in February 2015.
Of the 11 incidents reported in February 2015, two were Category 1 incidents, two were Category 3 incidents and seven were petty theft incidents. No Category 2 incidents were reported in February 2015.
However, while those figures would initially seem cause for celebration, a recent article in Lloyd’s List suggested shipping organization BIMCO believes that under-reporting is a huge issue in the region and it’s hard to argue against that.
At the same time, incidents of hijacking for cargo theft remain worryingly constant, despite the hard work of the region’s navies.
Despite the fact that two-thirds of the total number of incidents were petty theft cases, ReCAAP voiced concern about two Category 1 incidents involving siphoning of ship fuel/oil from product tankers, Lapin on 13 Feb 15, and Phubai Pattra 1 on 20 Feb 15.
“The ReCAAP ISC is concerned about the occurrence of ship fuel/oil siphoning incidents in February 2015, and the use of dummy explosives by the perpetrators in the incident onboard the Lapin, to threaten the crew and possibly, to delay the crew’s responsiveness in making timely reports of the incident.
Increased presence of enforcement agencies in the region, and sharing of investigation outcome among the enforcement agencies is key to tracking down the perpetrators, and arresting them. The ReCAAP ISC is collaborating with Interpol
in sharing information to update its database on information related to such incidents to establish linkages and connections.”
As indicated by the piracy watchdog, vigilant and early detection of a possible boarding is the most effective deterrent, which reduces risk to the crew.