MS Risk Blog

Piracy in Southeast Asia on the Rise

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According to the latest data released by the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre on Wednesday, pirates operating in Southeast Asia continue to hijack a coastal tanker on average once every two weeks in a bid to steal their cargo fuel.

Between January and June of this year, a total of 134 incidents of piracy and armed robbery globally were reported to the centre, an increase from the 116 that were reported during the same period last year. So far this year, 250 crewmembers have been taken hostage, with one fatality and nine injuries. Meanwhile eleven of the 13 hijackings that have been reported in the first half of this year occurred in waters in Southeast Asia. According to IMB director Pottengal Mukundan, “the serious attacks are the hijackings of the tankers in Southeast Asia and this year there has been a higher number in the first two quarters of this year than in the first two quarters of 2014.”

The IMB has reported that overall, attacks in Southeast Asia are greater in number than those of all the other regions combined. Furthermore, one-third of all incidents in that region occurred off the coast of Indonesia, however the IMB has noted that “the majority of these related to low-level opportunistic theft from vessels.” According to IMB figures, in the first half of 2015, there were 54 actual or attempted attacks that occurred in or near Indonesian waters, compared to 47 that were reported during the same period last year. Waters off Vietnam also saw an increase in pirate activity. In the first half of last year, there was only one incident reported in the area, however this year, there have already been 11 incidents reported. The IMB also reported a significant increase in armed robber attacks on vessels in Bangladesh, particularly in Chittagong. In the second quarter of this year, there were 10 incidents reported compared to only one that was reported in the first three months of 2015.

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