SINGAPORE - Five incidents of armed robbery against ships were reported in Asia last month, with two of them occurring in the Singapore Strait on the same day.
In both cases, five perpetrators armed with knives sneaked onto the ships in the early hours of July 17 but escaped empty-handed when they were spotted by crew members.
The crew members were safe, and nothing was stolen from the bulk carriers, which were in Indonesian waters.
Two other armed robberies were committed on ships anchored in the South Harbour Anchorage area in Manila, and the last occurred on a ship anchored at Belawan Anchorage in Indonesia.
The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCaap), a multilateral agreement among 16 countries in Asia,released the statistics on Thursday (Aug 12) in its monthly report.
One of the armed robberies in Manila involved a perpetrator pointing an improvised gun at a crew member, stripping him of his two-way radio and tying him to the railing of the ship.
Seven other perpetrators then appeared on board to steal a roll of mooring rope before they escaped.
As for the case in Indonesia, two perpetrators, each carrying a knife and a rod, stole some fire hose couplings. They escaped immediately when the alarm was raised and no crew members were injured.
Recaap noted that 22 incidents of armed robbery were reported in the Singapore Strait between January and July this year.
This is up from 19 in the same period a year ago.
Of the 22 incidents, 18 happened off Tanjung Pergam in Bintan, Indonesia.
However, armed robbery cases against ships in Asia overall saw a 32 per cent decline, from 63 between January and July last year to 43 cases in the same period this year.
Recaap's Information Sharing Centre (ISC) said it is concerned about the persistent occurrence of incidents in the Singapore Strait, particularly those off Tanjung Pergam.
“The ReCaap ISC urges law enforcement agencies in Asia to enhance surveillance, increase patrols and respond promptly to the report of incidents,” it added.