Marked increase of sea robberies in South Asia

Ship repair pier dock at Kakinada port: Credit: Kakinada Seaport

The number of sea robberies in South Asia tripled year on year, with 10 incidents reported in February 2020 compared with 3 in the same month the previous year, said regional piracy information sharing centre ReCAAP ISC.

ReCAAP ISC also pointed out that there have been an increase in incidents in Indian waters, with four cases reported in February 2020.

The centre stated, “With one incident reported in January 2020, a total of five incidents have been reported in India during January–February 2020, compared with five incidents reported in the whole year of 2019.”

The incidents in India involved a tanker and an offshore support vessel at Kakinada Anchorage and a chemical tanker that was under way off the coast of Gujarat.

Of the 10 incidents in February 2020, three were classed under Category 3 (armed perpetrators, crew not hurt) while seven were classed under Category 4 (unarmed perpetrators, crew not hurt).

In all the Category 3 incidents, the perpetrators were armed with knives, but fled after being spotted by crew.

The continuing targeting of ships in the Singapore Strait remains an area of concern, with four incidents in February, the same as January.

On 9 February, oil tanker Swarna Jayanti and bulk carrier New Spirit were targeted by robbers within an hour in the Singapore Strait.