(Source: www.businesstimes.com.sg)

The number of incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia have fallen to the lowest in 10 years, a half-yearly report by a regional anti-piracy body said.

THE number of incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia have fallen to the lowest in 10 years, a half-yearly report by a regional anti-piracy body said.

Government enforcement agencies in Asia reported just 36 incidents, the lowest total number of incidents since 2007, the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against ships in Asia (ReCAAP) said in its published report.

The number of incidents was 22 per cent down compared to the first half of 2016 and 41 per cent lower compared to the same period in 2013.

Twenty-seven of the 36 reported incidents were armed robbery against ships, two were piracy and seven were kidnaps for ransom.

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The situation of abduction of crew in Sulu-Celebes Sea off the Philippines has also improved, with no incident reported in May and June, but ReCAAP stated that this still remains an area of concern.

The regional body reiterates its advisory to all ships to re-route from the area, where possible.

Also of concern, it said, was the recurrence of the hijacking of ships for theft of oil cargo, and a rise in the number of incidents reported at Bangladesh port or anchorages as well.

Two incidents, one actual and one attempted, were reported along the Straits of Malacca and Singapore during January to June 2017. This compared to just one incident in 2016.

ReCAAP noted that the situation in this body of water improved significantly in 2016 owing to concerted efforts by the littoral states in patrols, arrest of perpetrators by the Indonesian authorities, and vigilance exercised by ship masters and crew.

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