Piracy and maritime crime incidents on the increase
Criminals most active in southeast Asia, especially Singapore Straits
There has been a shift to armed robbery attacks against vessels in territorial waters, while hijackings and crew kidnappings have become less common
THERE were 39 recorded acts of piracy and maritime-related criminal incidents in March and April after a relatively quiet start to the year, according to Lloyd’s List Intelligence casualty data.
There were 22 incidents recorded over the first two months of 2023, the lowest for that period in 10 years.
The frequency of incidents picked up in the following months, but the total number of incidents for the first fourth months of the year is still in line with 2021 and 2022 figures.
Attacks against ships are at historically low levels, with about 150 incidents reported both in 2022 and 2021. The average yearly incident reports published by Lloyd’s List Intelligence between 2016 and 2020 was 203.
Piracy and maritime crime have not disappeared but evolved. There has been a shift to armed robbery attacks against vessels in territorial waters, while hijackings and crew kidnappings have become less common.
Even though there have been several more aggressive attacks in quick succession recently in the Gulf of Guinea, security analysts argue that the threat to regional shipping remains unchanged.
It is important to carefully review the circumstances of reported incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, given that illicit activities and smuggling operations are common.
The most incidents reported in March and April occurred in southeast Asia, mainly in the Singapore Strait, and were largely thefts or attempted robberies.
“As the borders of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore intersect in the Singapore Strait perpetrators appear to take advantage of jurisdictional challenges there, improving their ability to escape,” said Risk Intelligence senior analyst Dirk Siebels. “An alert crew is an effective deterrent as perpetrators will in most cases escape when they realise that they have been discovered without confronting seafarers.”