As reported by the Singapore-headquartered anti-piracy watchdog that is ReCAAP, when comparing the February figures of the 2011-2014 period to the number of incidents that were accounted for in February 2015, this year’s February turns out to register for the lowest mark among February stats of the five-year reporting period.
A total number of 11 incidents related to piracy and armed robbery against various types of vessels were reported in Asia in February this year. Among these cases, one involved an incident of piracy and 10 were reported as being armed robberies against ships. No attempted incidents were reported in February 2015.
Out of the total 11 incidents that were reported in February of this year, two were labeled as Category 1 incidents, two went into Category 3 incidents and seven were determined to be petty theft incidents. There were no Category 2 incidents reported.
Although the cited figures are initially bound to seem as a cause for celebration, a recent Lloyd's List article suggested that the BIMCO shipping organization believes that under-reporting is one of the primary issues in the region and it is quite hard to argue with that.
Meanwhile, incidents related to the hijacking of vessels for the purposes of cargo theft are still worryingly common, despite the region's navies’ hard work.
Despite the results that clearly displayed that two-thirds of the incidents’ total number were cases involving petty theft, ReCAAP voiced its concern regarding the two Category 1 incidents that involved 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 troubled by the ship fuel/oil siphoning incidents that occurred in February 2015, and the use of dummy explosives by the perpetrators in the incident that took place onboard the Lapin vessel, to threaten the crew members and likely to interfere with the crew’s ability of making timely reports of the incident.
The increased presence of enforcement agencies in the region, as well as the sharing of investigation results and reports between enforcement agencies is essential if we are to track down the perpetrators, and be able to arrest them. The ReCAAP ISC is undergoing a co-op procedure with Interpol related to the sharing of information in order to update its database on data that concerns such cases of incidents and thus establish valuable and important linkages and connections."
ReCAAP quite clearly indicates that a vigilant and early detection of a possible boarding is the most important aspect of reducing risk to a vessel’s crew.