The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) Information Sharing Centre (ISC) held its annual Capacity Building Workshop virtually for the maritime regulatory and law enforcement authorities on August 26. The participants were from Asia, Australia and Europe.
During the virtual Workshop, ReCAAP ISC and the participants shared information and assessment of the latest situation of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia, in particular, in the areas of concern. They also discussed ways to further improve the accuracy and timeliness of incident reporting so as to provide the maritime community with useful information and analysis.
“We have seen an increase of piracy and sea robbery incidents in Asia during January to July this year with 58 incidents. This is an increase of more than 50% compared to the same period of last year (37 incidents)” said Mr. Masafumi Kuroki, Executive Director of ReCAAP ISC.
“Regardless of the COVID-19 pandemic, the participants of the workshop confirmed their continued efforts for the enhancement of the safety of maritime transport in Asia so that vessels can transit unimpeded as they deliver vital supplies to the region and beyond,” added Masafumi Kuroki.
ReCAAP’s most recent incident alert, issued August 20, concerns armed robbery in the Philippines. Within an interval of seven days, two incidents of armed robbery against ships occurred while they were berthed/anchored in Batangas, Philippines. In both incidents, the perpetrators demonstrated violence toward crew with a knife.
In the first incident on August 14, the perpetrator entered the cabin of the general steward, threatened him by pointing a long knife at him and stole his personal belongings. The perpetrator left the ship immediately via the mooring lines in a small unmarked blue motor banca stationed at the astern of the ship.
The second incident occurred on August 20 at 3 nautical miles southeast of the first incident. The duty crew member was attacked by a perpetrator with a knife when he was performing a roving watch at the main deck. He suffered a cut on his right palm when trying to stop the attack but accidentally grabbed the blade of the knife. The injured crew member was evacuated and sent to hospital for treatment.
ReCAAP is concerned about the occurrence of the two incidents involving perpetrators who were armed and violent toward the crew at Batangas anchorage. It is therefore urging ship masters and crew to exercise vigilance, maintain constant look-out for suspicious boats in the vicinity and report all incidents immediately to the authorities. It is also very important for the crew not to engage in a confrontation with perpetrators. ReCAAP also urges authorities to enhance surveillance, increase patrols and respond promptly to incidents reported by ships in order to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators.