ReCAAP ISC Piracy and Sea Robbery Conference 2019 Updates International Maritime Community on Current Situation in Asia and Africa

ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC) today held its annual Piracy and Sea Robbery Conference to an audience of international maritime stakeholders including shipping and marine insurance companies, regulators and law enforcement agencies, as well as the diplomatic community based in Singapore.

In his keynote address, Mr. Koji Sekimizu, former Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) reviewed the history of activities of IMO in dealing with maritime security and anti-piracy actions covering the establishment of ReCAAP, Somali Piracy, the Contact Group in conjunction with UN Security Council decisions, Djibouti Code of Conduct, Best Management Practices, and discussed a number of issues from his wide experience dealing with these matters as UN officer working at IMO and in the wider context of Maritime Governance by UN and IMO.

The conference addressed topics that are currently high on the agenda of the international maritime community including:

  • Piracy and Sea Robbery Situation in Asia (ReCAAP ISC)
  • Abduction of Crew in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and Waters off Easter Sabah (Philippine Coast Guard)
  • Update on the Indian Ocean High Risk Area (INTERTANKO)
  • Maritime Cybersecurity (BIMCO)
  • Effects and Implications of Piracy (Panel discussion moderated by World Maritime University)

“In 2018, there were 76 incidents of piracy and armed robbery reported in Asia. This was a 25% decrease in the total number of incidents and a 31% decrease in actual incidents compared to 2017. Nonetheless, it is important that we continue to reinforce the ownership of the Coastal States in addressing maritime crime, the cooperation between law enforcement agencies and the industry, and the timely reporting by ships, all of which have led to the decrease of incidents in Asia. The topics and speakers of this year’s conference have been designed to reflect the vitality of that shared responsibility,” remarked Masafumi Kuroki, Executive Director of ReCAAP ISC.

“Over the past couple of years, piracy and terrorism in the Sulu and Celebes Seas has been a point of concern for the shipping industry. The valuable counter-piracy lessons learned here, and off Somalia, are worth exploring, and may well be applied in the current piracy hotspot number one: The Gulf of Guinea. The annual ReCAAP ISC conference will surely help us do just that,” said Jakob P. Larsen, Head of Maritime Security at BIMCO.

“The threat from piracy remains, in Asia and also in the Indian Ocean. The Indian Ocean High Risk Area (HRA) continues to serve an important reference in ensuring ships and seafarers are prepared for pirate attacks,” said Tim Wilkins, Environment Director and Regional Manager, Asia-Pacific of INTERTANKO. “A serious threat remains despite the reduction to the area’s geographic boundaries and so correct reporting, vigilance and adherence to the 5th edition of the Best Management Practices to Deter Piracy and Enhance Maritime Security in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea (BMP5) remains crucial. Shipowners must remain alert and law enforcement agencies must continue to provide protection to shipping.”

Ambassador Ong Keng Yong, Executive Deputy Chairman of RSIS, highlighted the relevance of the conference, “This annual conference is an important knowledge-sharing platform on risks and threats facing the international maritime community. We discussed piracy and sea robbery as well as relevant emerging technologies, and shared ideas on solving problems affecting ship owners and seafarers. The most useful part of this exchange is on how to work together effectively.”


Maritime piracy incidents down in Q1 2019 but kidnapping risk in Gulf of Guinea persists

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

The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre, a 24-hour, free service offered by the IMB, enables shipmasters to report any incidents of piracy and armed robbery, globally against ships. Since 1991, the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre has provided the industry, government bodies and response agencies with timely data on the location of piracy and armed robbery incidents at sea.

Global trends

In the first quarter of 2019, IMB reported 38 incidents of piracy and armed robbery at sea, representing 28 fewer incidents than the first quarter of 2018 (66). IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre detailed that 27 vessels were boarded, seven vessels were fired upon and four attempted attacks occurred in the first quarter of 2019. No vessels were reported as hijacked for the first time since the first quarter of 1994.

“These latest statistics from the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre are encouraging. However, first quarter statistics is too short a period on which to anticipate trends over the year.  It confirms the importance of information sharing and coordinated action between the industry and response agencies. Going forward, it is critical to continue to build more effective reporting structures to enable a strong, unified response when dealing with piracy incidents,” said IMB Director Pottengal Mukundan.

High risk in Gulf of Guinea

The Gulf of Guinea represented a high number of piracy and armed robbery attacks at sea, with 22 incidents reported in the first quarter of 2019. The region also accounted for all of the worldwide crew kidnappings as 21 crew members were kidnapped across five separate incidents. Incidents were reported in the coastal countries, of Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria and Togo in the first quarter of 2019.

Gains in Nigeria, but caution urged

Nigeria has been a hotspot for piracy incidents over the past decade. However, in the first quarter of 2019, Nigeria experienced a decrease in reported piracy incidents. Nigeria reported 14 incidents of piracy for Q1 2019, in comparison to 22 incidents in Q1 2018. These results confirm the Nigerian Navy’s increased efforts to “actively respond to reported incidents by dispatching patrol boats,” the report notes. Despite these efforts, Nigerian waters remain risky for vessels, especially the port of Lagos where four incidents have been reported.

Improvements in Asia

In Asia, Indonesia witnessed a decrease in piracy activities for the first quarter of 2019. There were only three incidents reported against anchored vessels in ports in Indonesia – the fewest reported incidents since 2010 – according to the report. As with Nigeria, increased cooperation and information sharing between the Indonesian Marine Police and IMB Piracy Reporting Centre has enabled regular patrols in high-risk areas.

Data sharing remains critical

The declining rate of piracy incidents worldwide in the first quarter of 2019 reinforces the importance of transparency, communication and coordination, between vessels and coastal authorities. By reporting all incidents to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre and  coastal authorities the response can be better organised improving  incident response times and prompt advice to vessels aimed at a more optimal use of  resources.  National governments and coastal authorities can use this data to collaborate and strengthen their piracy prevention efforts.


Hostages held by Abu Sayyaf militants in Philippines tried to escape – government

An Indonesian hostage of the Muslim militant group Abu Sayyaf swam to safety, but another drowned and a Malaysian hostage was shot in the back, according to a military spokesman.

The rescue attempts had taken place over two days, Philippine regional military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Gerry Besana said on Saturday. He added that this happened while Philippine marines were attempting to rescue them from Simusa Island in Southern Sulu province.

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Rampant Illegal Fishing; Gov’t Urged to Step Up Maritime Security

Translator: Dewi Elvia Muthiariny

Editor: Petir Garda Bhwana

TEMPO.COJakarta – The Indonesian fisheries watchdog, Destructive Fishing Watch (DFW), coordinator Abdi Suhufan said that illegal fishing committed by foreign boats are still rampant.

“To March 19, 2019, the KKP (Marine Affairs and Fisheries Ministry) has seized 16 foreign boats illegally fishing in Indonesian seas,” said Abdi on Monday, March 25.

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ReCAAP ISC 13th Governing Council Meeting Held at Singapore

By Baibhav Mishra

The 13th Governing Council Meeting of the ReCAAP ISC was held on 19 to 22 March 2019 in Singapore, hosted by the Singapore Government. The Council reviewed the activities of ReCAAP ISC in FY2018 and deliberated on its activities for FY2019 and beyond. On 22 March 2019, the Open Session was held with External Participants comprising representatives from three countries and 13 organisations.

The Council commended ReCAAP ISC on producing positive results in respect to its activities in FY2018 under the three pillars of its mission, i.e., information sharing, capacity building and cooperative arrangement.
The Council reviewed the progress of the implementation of the Roadmap for the Future of ReCAAP ISC and appreciated the continued progress as well as new initiatives ReCAAP ISC has made under the Roadmap as a Centre of Excellence for information sharing.

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