Asian waters see 35% rise in ship robbery during first six months of 2023


Piracy and ship robbery in Asian waters rose by 35% in the first six months this year compared to the same period last year.

According to available data from the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP), some 57 incidents took place during the January-June period this year, compared to 42 incidents in the same months 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 57 incidents, 40 occurred in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.

“The ReCAAP ISC is concerned with the continued occurrence of incidents in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS),” said the regional body.

“With the three incidents reported (last week), a total of 40 incidents were reported in the SOMS since January 2023,” the ReCAAP noted in its latest weekly bulletin.

The Centre advises ships to continue to exercise enhanced vigilance when transiting SOMS; and the littoral States to increase patrols and enforcement in the area, it added.

ReCAAP ISC updated its advisory saying that the threat of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas has diminished since January 2020 due to successful military operations and robust law enforcement initiatives. Therefore, it advises all ships to consider re-route from the area as an option based on its prerogative.

“For ships transiting the area, the ship masters and crew are strongly encouraged to exercise extra vigilance and report all incidents immediately to the Operation Centres of the Philippines and Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) of Malaysia,” said the centre.

The information centre of the regional body urged the ship masters and crew members to report all incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships to the nearest coastal State and flag State, referring to the Poster on the Contact Details for Reporting of Incidents of Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia.

Sharar Nayel
Asia Correspondent

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