ReCAAP, the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia, is expressing concern over a trend of recent violence, specifically the latest situations of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia. The organization hosted an annual workshop for its members and separately issued a report about recent occurrences of violence against crew members aboard ships at the Batangas anchorage south of Manila in the northern Philippines.
On August 26, the organization hosted an annual workshop for maritime regulatory and law enforcement authorities. They discussed the recent incidents and ways to further improve the accuracy and timeliness of incident reporting to provide the maritime community with useful information and analysis.
“We have seen an increase of piracy and sea robbery incidents in Asia during January to July this year with 58 incidents. This is an increase of more than 50 percent compared to the same period of last year (37 incidents)” said Masafumi Kuroki, Executive Director of ReCAAP ISC.
ReCAAP also reported two specific incidents of armed robbery against ships within a week in the Philippines while alerting crews and the local authorities to the dangers.
The first incident was aboard the product tanker Pacific Sapphire while berthed at Bauan. Reportedly the perpetrator boarded the tanker by climbing the mooring lines and then entered the general steward’s cabin. Pointing a knife at the steward, the perpetrator took person belongings and left the vessel also via the mooring lines.
Days later, a perpetrator was also discovered aboard the bulker Vienna Wood while the vessel was in the anchorage. This time the crew member who discovered the intruder tried to stop the individual and was accidentally cut with a knife on the palm of his hand. An alarm was raised and the perpetrator left over the side of the ship while the injured crew member was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
ReCAAP advised masters and crew to “exercise vigilance, maintain constant look-out for suspicious boats in the vicinity and report all incidents immediately to the authorities.” The local authorities were also urged to enhance surveillance, increase patrols and respond promptly to incidents.
Established in 2006, ReCAAP is the first regional government-to-government agreement to promote and enhance cooperation against piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia. A total 20 countries, including 14 Asian countries, four European countries, Australia, and the U.S. participate in the organization.