China raises piracy threat to maximum

Singapore, Malacca Strait. Credit: Getty Images

China has unexpectedly raised its Maritime Security (MARSEC) threat level to 3, or the maximum threat, for its flagged vessels travelling the Strait of Malacca, Dryad Maritime reports. 

The security consultancy maintains that although the development is alarming in itself, it comes despite a tapering off of piracy incidents in the area since 2013. While pirate attacks do still occur here, they are relatively low level and comprise mainly of petty theft, and “… there is currently no reporting to indicate that local groups involved in piracy possess the intent or capability to employ a new MO I[modus operandi] in this manner”.

Dryad said that other procedures associated with an increased threat level, such as a reporting stream and associated information, and while it speculates that the development may have emerged in response to “… a specific threat of criminality, in this instance linked to cargo theft”, it does not advise vessels flying other flags follow suit.  

“Dryad is currently content to recommend that we do not believe that MARSEC Level 3 is a necessary requirement for other vessels transiting the Strait of Malacca,” the consultant’s statement said. “Dryad will continue to monitor the situation and will report any further details which emerge when necessary.”