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Piracy incidents come down in Asia in January this year theft reported from a ship in Gujarat

A total of seven incidents of piracy and armed robbery against shipsē were reported in Asia (comprising five actual incidents and two attempted incidents) in January 2018. Of the seven incidents, one was a piracy incident and six were armed robberies against ships. There was no actual or attempted incident involving the abduction of crew from ships in the Sulu-Celebes Sea and waters

off Eastern Sabah; and no incident involving the hijacking of ships for theft of oil cargo in January 2018.                                      

In January 2018, there were two reports of arrest of perpetrators and recovery of stolen items by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Indian Coast Guard (ICG).

Compared to December 2017, the situation in January 2018 has improved.

A total of 16 incidents were reported in December 2017. 

Of the seven incidents reported in January 2018, five incidents occurred on board ships while at anchor/berth, and two incidents on board ships while underway.

The five incidents occurred at Muara Berau (East Kalimantan, Indonesia), Manila (Philippines), Cam Pha (Vietnam) and the South China Sea. 

The two incidents occurred on board ships while underway off Alang, Gujarat (India) and off Pulau Karimun (Straits of Malacca and Singapore).On January seventh around noon tanker Ocean I towed by tug boat was underway at Alang port in Gujarat when three perpetrators boarded the tanker from a fishing boat. The ship crew immediately reported the incident to the local authorities.

There was no report of incident involving the abduction of crew from ships while underway in the Sulu-Celebes Sea in January 2018. The last actual incident   occurred on board Super Shuttle Tug 1 on 23 Mar 17; and the last attempted incident occurred on board Doņa Annabel on 18 Apr 17.

 The Indian Coastguard station at the nearby Pipapava port requested the marine police in the area to investigate the incident. The Marine police arrested all the perpetrators four days later and recovered the stolen items from the ship stores and engine spares. The investigation is ongoing

As of January 2018, nine crew members involved in the incident are still being held in captivity. The Philippine authorities continued to conduct pursuit operations and intensify its military operations to rescue the abducted crew and neutralize the militant group. 

The advisory has been issued to all ships to re-route from the area, wherever possible. Otherwise, ship masters and crew are strongly urged to exercise extra vigilance while transiting the Sulu-Celebes Sea and eastern Sabah region in Indonesia, maintain communication and report all incidents. 

The situation of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia has improved in January 2018 compared to December 2017. A total of seven incidents were reported in January 2018 compared to 16 incidents reported in December 2017. There was no report on the abduction of crew for ransom and hijacking of ships for theft of oil cargo in January 2018. 

The Regional guide to counter piracy and armed robbery against ships (ReCAAP ISC) advocates timely and accurate reporting of all incidents to the authorities and quick response by the enforcement agencies. This was demonstrated in the incidents involving Polar Ecuador and Ocean 1, which led to the arrest of the perpetrators and recovery of the stolen items. 

The ReCAAP ISC advises ships transiting the areas of concern to exercise enhanced vigilance, maintain look-out for suspicious approach by boats, report all incidents to the nearest coastal State and flag State immediately, keep abreast of the latest situation and implement preventive measures recommended.


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