08 JULY 2024 

After several years of warnings about the high rate of piracy in the Singapore and Malacca straits, ReCAAP Information Sharing Center provided details of a strong decline in piracy in the region during the first half of 2024. They are reporting that enhanced measures and cooperative efforts with littoral states contributed to a 50 percent reduction in incidents of sea robbery in the straits of Malacca and Singapore. However, they are warning of continuing dangers and a rise in petty theft.

Unlike the more violent piracy incidents where crewmembers are assaulted and taken hostage elsewhere in the world, the Asia region has seen a strong increase in lower-level incidents of boarding and theft. Most of the individuals are rarely armed or only have knives and attempt to go undetected from the crew. They board ships underway and attempt to reach the stores and engine room to steal spares, lose parts and tools. When they are identified frequently they flee.

Overall, the piracy and sea robbery situation in the Asian region, including the straits of Malacca and Singapore, has improved in the first half of 2024, compared to the same period last year,” said ReCAAP ISC Executive Director, Krishnaswamy Natarajan, during a recent meeting with regional authorities and the shipping industry. “This can be attributed to concerted efforts by maritime stakeholders, stricter monitoring and enforcement by the law enforcement agencies of coastal States, and proactive reporting of incidents by shipmasters and shipping companies. The momentum needs to be maintained and all parties should not lower their guard.”

While the rate of sea robbery was down by half in the area around the straits, broadly across Asia ReCAAP reported a 16 percent decrease in the number of incidents of piracy and armed robbery. There was a total of 51 incidents in the first half of this year down from 61 in 2023.

However, ReCAAP warned that there has also been a higher number of incidents of petty theft reports at some ports and anchorages in the region. They stressed that port authorities and local law enforcement have to act to protect against these crimes.

Meeting with the shipping industry they also stressed the need for more timely reporting of incidents by ship masters. They congratulated the local authorities for increasing their efforts while saying timely information from the ships is critical. They also discussed the role shipping agents can play in reporting incidents and assisting with follow-up.

The declines in piracy mirror the global trends where agencies have said piracy is at modern lows. To further aid with the progress in Asia, ReCAAP updated the shipping industry on new initiatives focusing on timely and accurate information sharing. They also detailed new efforts including a mobile app and increased communications to remind crews of the importance and provided tools for reporting.


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