Singapore: Shipowners, operators and managers should report every piracy attempt, however small the incident appears to be, for authorities to get a better picture of what is happening in the maritime crime arena. That’s the view of Yoshihisa Endo, executive director of the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP), the first regional government-to-government agreement to promote and enhance cooperation against piracy and armed robbery in Asia. To date, 20 States have become contracting parties to ReCAAP.
“ReCAAP has urged the maritime community to report all cases, including those failed attempts. This will enable us to provide a more accurate situational picture and provide the information to the respective law enforcement authorities to focus where it matters, as resources are limited,” Endo says.
Southeast Asia has been in the spotlight for the amount of attacks on ships, primarily small product tankers, in the past 18 months. Endo is keen to stress the difference between these attacks and other modes of piracy, such as what was prevalent off Somalia.
“What we see,” Endo says, “are mainly petty thief types of incidents where personal items and shipboard equipment/spares were stolen, especially in ports and anchorages.”
These incidents, Endo says, are akin to house break-ins or pick-pockets on land.
It is important to classify these incidents properly, Endo stresses. ReCAAP uses the UNCLOS definition for ‘piracy’ and the IMO definition for ‘armed Robbery against ships’.
“Though there was an increase of fuel siphoning cases in 2014, insider involvement cannot be ruled out,” Endo adds.
Endo’s advice for shipowners transiting the Malacca and Singapore Straits is to maintain vigilance, carry out risk assessment and with heightened situation awareness, and report all incidents (attempted or actual) to the nearest coastal states.