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Asian water sees 13% rise in sea robbery in first months of 2023

With fragile economic conditions and inflationary pressure worldwide which drive individuals to commit piracy and sea robbery, the Asian water saw a 13% rise in piracy and ship burglary during the January-May period compared to the same months last year.


According to the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP), during the last five months of 2023, some 44 incidents took place in Asian water against 39 in the same period last year.


Data from ReCAAP, a body of the first regional government-to-government agreement to promote and enhance cooperation against piracy and armed robbery, shows that out of the 44 incidents, 29 alone occurred in Straits of Malacca and Singapore.


The area remains at top of the locations in Asian water where sea robbery mainly takes place. The Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, India, and Indonesia are the other places where the rest of the incidents occurred.


The ReCAAP ISC is concerned with the continued occurrence of incidents in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore,the regional body said in its latest Weekly Report.


The centre advised ships to continue to exercise enhanced vigilance when transiting the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, and the littoral states to increase patrols and enforcement in the area.


Meantime, last week ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre and the Cambodia Ministry of Public Works and Transport jointly organised a meeting to discuss ways for strengthening regional cooperation against piracy and sea robbery.


They discussed the use of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code as a framework to detect and deter acts which pose a threat to port and maritime security.


Given the essential goods and valuable cargo transiting through our ports and territorial waters daily, the Merchant Marine Department works closely with the port authorities and maritime police to detect and deny criminals who plan to commit robberies on ships anchored in our ports and anchorages,said Mak Sideth, Director General of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Cambodia.


The Cambodian maritime police also conduct regular patrols and keep a lookout for suspicious-looking vessels which may be used by perpetrators to commit sea robberies, he noted.


Krishnaswamy Natarajan, Executive Director, ReCAAP ISC, said the cluster meeting has strengthened understanding between Cambodian maritime agencies and the shipping community, as well as fostered greater synergy between ReCAAP Focal Points.


ReCAAP ISC will continue to co-organise meetings with our Focal Points to build their knowledge and capacity to combat piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia,he noted.


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