Piracy and sea robbery incidents up from last year

SINGAPORE - Asian waters were significantly more dangerous last year, with a rise in piracy and sea robbery incidents in these waters, according to statistics from an international counter-piracy body.

There were 183 such incidents last year, 22 per cent more than in 2013.

These comprise 168 actual incidents and 15 attempted ones, and include incidents of oil siphoning, where pirates hijack fuel tankers and offload their cargo.

The figures are from the 2014 annual report of the information sharing centre of the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP).

Singapore reaffirmed its commitment to fighting piracy in the region at the ninth ReCAAP governing council meeting, held here from March 16 until Thursday.

The meeting discussed the future directions of the information centre, including how it could position itself as a globally-recognised centre for sharing information on sea attacks.

The chief executive of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, Mr Andrew Tan, said: "Singapore remains concerned about the regional piracy and sea robbery situation. We urge all stakeholders to work closely together to combat the situation. Singapore stands ready to cooperate with the littoral states to strengthen the coordination among the enforcement agencies."

The meeting was attended by 19 member countries, including Japan, Norway and Britain. Singapore has hosted the information sharing centre since its establishment in 2006.

oliviaho@sph.com.sg