Rise of pirates in the Caribbean

By Rinsy Xieng

While pirates are becoming rarer off the Horn of Africa, particularly in Somalia, since warships patrolled the area, the number of acts of piracy and robbery is steadily increasing, with a sharp upsurge in Caribbean. For example, 28 events were recorded in 2019 off the island of Grenada, compared to only 3 the previous year. In the West Indies, it is mainly pleasure boats that are targeted.

Boaters and merchant ships

Pirates no longer hesitate to board large vessels, such as merchant vessels, even though the palm goes back to the Gulf of Guinea, where almost a third of the attacks took place there according to the report of the MICA Center, the center of expertise French Maritime Safety, which has just published its annual report. In 2019, for example, the organization recorded 360 events related to piracy and robbery. This figure has been stable for four years but less than it was 10 years ago.

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Source: rci.fm

ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre Conducts Anti-Piracy Capacity Building Programme

ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre Conducts Anti-Piracy Capacity Building Programme for Senior Officers of Maritime Authorities and Law Enforcement Agencies in Cooperation with Vietnam Coast Guard ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC) in cooperation with ReCAAP Vietnam Focal Point (Vietnam Coast Guard) today convened the Capacity Building Senior Officer’s Meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The three-day programme will gather senior officers from 16 ReCAAP Member Countries as well as Malaysia and Indonesia to review the situation of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia including the incidents of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas, share specific case studies, and discuss ways to improve the maritime safety situation in Asia.

Complementing the programme is a lecture on international maritime laws and their applications, as well as a scenario-based exercise facilitated by Professor Max Mejia of the World Maritime University.

Participants of the programme will also have an opportunity to have a dialogue with the shipping industry based in Vietnam to better understand their concerns.

“The ReCAAP model is unique because it gives emphasis on information sharing among a network of 20 ReCAAP Focal Points across Asia, Australia, Europe and the United States as an approach to fighting maritime crimes,” said Mr. Masafumi Kuroki, Executive Director of ReCAAP ISC. “Thanks to the regional and international cooperation, incidents of piracy and sea robbery in Asia are decreasing. We will continue to strengthen the capability and cooperation of ReCAAP Focal Points and regional authorities to keep Asian waters—one of the most economically vital in the world—safe for seafarers, ships and cargoes.”

The ReCAAP Member Countries represented at the Capacity Building Senior Officers’ Meeting 2019 in Hanoi are Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam.

Source: recaap.org

Mr. Masafumi Kuroki, Executive Director of ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre noted that the ReCAAP model of information sharing among a network of 20 ReCAAP Focal Points across Asia, Australia, Europe and the United States is an effective approach to fighting maritime crimes
Mr. Masafumi Kuroki, Executive Director of ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre noted that the ReCAAP model of information sharing among a network of 20 ReCAAP Focal Points across Asia, Australia, Europe and the United States is an effective approach to fighting maritime crimes

Nine found guilty in Suriname of murdering Guyanese fishermen last year

Nine fishermen have been convicted in Suriname for the fatal piracy attack in April last year in which over a dozen Guyanese fishermen were killed off the coast of the neighbouring country.

Three persons were acquitted of the crime after the judge ruled that there was no evidence to convict them.

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Source: stabroeknews.com

Duterte to PH Navy: Kill pirates, ‘blow them until kingdom come’

The president mentions working with Indonesia and Malaysia to protect the seas from pirates, amid warming ties with China which is occupying the West PH Sea

MANILA, Philippines – In alleging that much of the Philippines’ drug problem is brought about by piracy in the seas, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Saturday, November 30, that he was ordering the Philippine Navy to kill pirates if they spot them.

“My orders to the Navy, I repeat my orders to the Navy, if they are positive that they are pirates, you blow them [until] kingdom come, patayin mo na lahat at matapos na ang problema ko at ng Pilipinas and so with the drugs (kill them all so all my problems and the Philippines’ problems will all go away, and so with the drugs),” Duterte said on Saturday at the celebration of Andres Bonifacio’s 156th birth anniversary.

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Source: rappler.com

More military assets to be deployed in Sulu

Roel Pareño

More military equipment will be deployed in Sulu to help ground forces defeat Abu Sayyaf bandits and neutralize foreign terrorists hiding on the island.

Armed Forces chief Gen. Noel Clement announced during his visit to the Western Mindanao Command last week the acquisition for the Light Armor Battalion of additional C-130s and the arrival of a C295 personnel transport plane, attack helicopters, a Navy warship and armored tanks, which are equipped with sophisticated weapon systems that can hit long-range targets, Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Westmincom chief, said.

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Source: philstar.com

PH strengthens border security with Indonesia, Malaysia

Marje Pelayo

MANILA, Philippines – Backdoor entry through the Philippines southern border has made the country susceptible to threats from foreign terrorists.

Thus, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has been working with its neighboring countries Indonesia and Malaysia to further strengthen its border security.

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Source: untvweb.com

ReCAAP issues October 2019 report


A total of seven incidents of armed robbery against ships1 were reported in Asia in October 2019. No piracy2 incident was reported. There were also no reports of abduction of crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah; and no hijacking of ships for theft of oil cargo reported in October 2019. However, the abduction of crew for ransom in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah remains a serious concern. The ReCAAP ISC is also concerned about the increase in the number of incidents reported on board ships while underway in the Singapore Strait.

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Source: recaap.org

ReCAAP October 2019 report
ReCAAP October 2019 report

4 Australian warships now in PH for various activities


CEBU CITY –– Four Australian warships are in the Philippines for various activities, including military exercises, as part of their cooperation with their counterparts in the Philippine Navy and Coast Guard.

The frigate warships, including HMAS Stuart, HMAS Leeuwin, HMAS Sirius, and HMAS Ararat, participated in the recent commemoration of the Leyte Gulf Landing last Oct 20. They provided the backdrop in the reenactment event.

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Source: globalnation.inquirer.net

Councillor: Cedros fishermen escaped pirate attack

At around 6 am on Monday, fishermen who took to the sea for an early-morning catch reported being run down by pirates off the Cedros coast.

Councillor for the area Shankar Teelucksingh was called out to the shores of Cedros, where fishermen were docking their boat. They reported seeing what they said were Venezuelan pirates approaching them at sea.

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Source: newsday.co.tt

Maritime piracy incidents down in Q3, yet Gulf of Guinea remains a hot spot

The International Chamber of Commerce International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) report for the third quarter of 2019 demonstrates fewer incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships than the first nine months of 2018.

119 incidents of Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships have been reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB PRC) in 2019, compared to 156 incidents for the same period in 2018. Overall, the 2019 incidents include 95 vessels boarded, 10 vessels fired upon, 10 attempted attacks, and four vessels hijacked. The number of crew taken hostage through the first nine months has declined from 112 in 2018 to 49 in 2019.

While the overall number of incidents has dropped, incidents involving guns and knives remain consistent. There have been 24 knife-related and 35 gun-related incidents reported in 2019, compared to 25 and 37 for the first nine months of 2018. These statistics confirm IMB’s concerns over continued threats to the safety and security of seafarers.

Gulf of Guinea

The Gulf of Guinea remains a high risk area  for piracy and armed robbery. The region accounts for 86% of crew taken hostage and nearly 82% of crew kidnappings globally.

In July a general cargo vessel was hijacked approximately 120nm SW from Brass. Ten crew members were kidnapped from the vessel and released four weeks later. In August a bulk carrier and a general cargo vessel were boarded within hours of each other at Douala anchorage, Cameroon and a total of seventeen crew were kidnapped from the vessels. Within six weeks all kidnapped crew were released.  This incident demonstrates the range of piracy activity in the Gulf of Guinea and that all types of ships are vulnerable to attack. Lagos recorded 11 incidents in 2019, the highest number for any port.

Lagos recorded 11 incidents in 2019 – the highest number of any port in the world. Despite reporting more attacks than any other country, Nigeria has reduced Q3 piracy attacks from 41 in 2018 to 29 in 2019.

“Although incidents are down, the Gulf of Guinea continues to be a concern for piracy and armed robbery-related activities with kidnappings of crew members increasing in both scale and frequency,” said Pottengal Mukundan, Director, ICC IMB. “It is important that shipmasters and owners continue to report all actual, attempted, and suspected incidents to ensure that an accurate picture of these attacks emerge and  action is taken against these criminals before the incidents further escalate.”

Continued improvement in Indonesia

Meanwhile, Indonesia reported a decline in overall piracy related incidents with 20 actual and attempted attacks for the first nine months of 2019. Over the past five years, Indonesia has gradually reduced its share of piracy related incidents. As recent as 2015, Indonesia reported 86 actual and attempted piracy incidents through Q3. Indonesia’s impressive gains can be attributed to continued information sharing between the Indonesian Marine Police and the IMB PRC.

No incidents in Somalia, but threats remain

Meanwhile, Somalia has no piracy-related incidents recorded for the first nine months of 2019. Although no incidents have been reported, Somali pirates continue to possess the capacity to carry out attacks in the Somali basin and wider Indian Ocean. As a result, the IMB PRC advises ship owners to remain cautious when transitting these waters.

Global anti‐piracy support

Since 1991 the IMB PRC’s 24-hour manned centre, has provided the maritime industry,  governments and response agencies with timely and transparent data on piracy and armed  robbery incidents – received directly from the Master  of the vessel or its owners.

The  IMB  PRC’s  prompt  forwarding  of  reports  and  liaison  with  response  agencies,  its  broadcasts to shipping via Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) Safety Net  Services and email alerts to Company Security Officers, all provided free of cost, has helped  the response against piracy and armed robbery and the security of seafarers, globally.

IMB strongly urges all shipmasters and owners to report all actual, attempted and suspected  piracy and armed robbery incidents to the IMB PRC globally. This first step in the response  chain is vital to ensuring that adequate resources are allocated by authorities to tackle piracy.  Transparent statistics from an independent, non- political, international organization can act  as a catalyst to achieve this goal.

Source: iccwbo.org