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A 35% decrease compared to same period last year

A total of 37 incidents of armed robbery against ships were reported in Asia during January-June 2021, accounting for a 35% decrease, compared to a total of 57 incidents reported during the same period in 2020.

The total number of incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia reported during January-June 2021 has decreased compared to the same period in 2020, due to the decrease of incidents in several locations in Asia. However, of concern is the continued occurrence of incidents in the Singapore Strait and the persisting threat of abduction of crew by the ASG in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah.

Unless the perpetrators involved in these incidents are arrested, the incidents are likely to continue to occur, the report notes. This requires collective efforts and shared responsibility of all the stakeholders. Immediate reporting of incidents by ships, quick responses by coastal States, and timely and accurate information sharing among all stakeholders are keys towards combating piracy and armed robbery against ships, and in particular, for the arrest of the perpetrators.

Therefore, urges the law enforcement agencies in Asia to continue to enhance surveillance, increase patrols and respond promptly to report of incidents. Ships transiting the areas of concern are advised to enhance vigilance, maintain all round lookout and report all incidents to the nearest coastal State and flag State. Ships are also advised to implement preventive measures recommended in the “Regional Guide to Counter Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships in Asia”.

  • A total of 37 incidents of armed robbery against ships (comprising 35 actual incidents and two attempted incidents) were reported in Asia.
  • This accounts for a 35% decrease, compared to a total of 57 incidents (comprising 56 actual incidents and one attempted incident) reported during the same period in 2020.
  • All the incidents reported during January-June 2021 are armed robbery against ships. No piracy incident was reported.

  • Of the 35 actual incidents reported during January-June 2021, one was a CAT 2 incident, 10 were CAT 3 incidents and 24 were CAT 4 incidents. No CAT 1 incident was reported during this period.
  • Of the 37 incidents reported during January-June 2021, 22 incidents (59%) occurred to ships while underway and 15 incidents (41%) to ships while at anchor/berth.
  • The decrease of incidents during January-June 2021 occurred in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and South China Sea:

-No incident was reported in Bangladesh during January-June 2021 compared to three incidents during January-June 2020.

-Two incidents were reported in India during January-June 2021 compared to seven incidents during the same period in 2020.

-In Indonesia, six incidents were reported during January-June 2021 compared to 17 incidents during the same period in 2020.

-In the Philippines, six incidents were reported during January-June 2021 compared to seven incidents during the same period in 2020.

-No incident was reported in the South China Sea during January-June 2021 compared to two incidents during the same period in 2020.

-In Vietnam, two incidents were reported during January-June 2021 compared to three incidents during the same period in 2020.

Singapore Strait

However, of concern was the continued occurrence of incidents onboard ships while underway in the Singapore Strait. A total of 20 incidents were reported during January-June 2021 compared to 16 incidents during the same period in 2020.

Sulu-Celebes seas

There was no incident of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah during January-June 2021. The four abducted crew who had been held in captivity by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) since 17 Jan 20 were rescued by the Philippine authorities on 18 Mar 21 and 21 Mar 21. As a result, no crew is currently held in captivity by the ASG.

The threat of the abduction of crew in the SuluCelebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah still remains high. Ships transiting the area are advised to follow the ‘Guidance on Abduction of Crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and Waters off Eastern Sabah’, and maintain communications with the Operation Centres of the Philippines and Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM).

Although the incidents are decreasing, the stakeholders to continue collaborative efforts such as upholding vigilance, making timely reporting by ships and conducting quick response by coastal States in order to ensure maritime safety for the shipping community and safety of the seafarers.