News analysis

Why piracy persists in the pandemic

Factors include increased economic hardship and pirates capitalising on fatigue at sea

The spectre of piracy has returned to the Singapore Strait after cases appeared to be contained just a few years ago. But unlike last year, recent attacks were quick hits, rather than the product of sophisticated planning.
The spectre of piracy has returned to the Singapore Strait after cases appeared to be contained just a few years ago. But unlike last year, recent attacks were quick hits, rather than the product of sophisticated planning.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

In the darkness of a warm May evening, five pirates climbed aboard the bulk carrier Vega Aquarius that was sailing through the Singapore Strait en route to China.

Armed with knives, they accosted a sailor, relieved him of his cellphone, and left him with a minor head injury before fleeing.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 01, 2020, with the headline 'Why piracy persists in the pandemic'. Print Edition | Subscribe