In July 2020, six incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported in Asia, reports the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP). Of the six incidents, one was a piracy incident and five were armed robbery against ships.
There was no report of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah, Malaysia in July 2020. However, the abduction of crew for ransom remains a serious concern as demonstrated by the Warning issued by the ReCAAP Information Sharing Center (ISC) on July 2 that five Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members were planning to conduct abduction of crew from ships passing by Tawi-Tawi and Sabah waters.
The ReCAAP ISC is also concerned about the continued occurrence of incidents on board ships while underway in the Singapore Strait. Three incidents were reported in July 2020.
Overall, during January-July 2020, a total of 58 incidents (comprising 56 actual incidents and two attempted incidents) of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported in Asia. Of the 58 incidents, three were incidents of piracy and 55 were incidents of armed robbery against ships. Compared to January-July 2019, the total number of incidents reported during January-July 2020 had increased by more than 50%. A total of 37 incidents (comprising 34 actual incidents and three attempted incidents) were reported during January-July 2019. The number of incidents reported during January-July 2020 was the highest compared to the same period of 2016-2019.
The increase of incidents during January-July 2020 occurred mostly in Bangladesh, India, the Philippines, South China Sea and Singapore Strait. Three incidents were reported in Bangladesh during January-July 2020 compared to no incident during January-July 2019. Eight incidents were reported in India during January-July 2020 compared to two incidents during the same period in 2019. In the Philippines, eight incidents were reported during January-July 2020 compared to two incidents during JanuaryJuly 2019; and in the South China Sea, three incidents were reported during January-July 2020 compared to one incident during the same period in 2019. Of most concern is the increase of incidents in the Singapore Strait during January-July 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. A total of 19 incidents were reported in the Singapore Strait during January-July 2020 compared to 11 incidents during the same period in 2019.