Tue, 09 Mar 2021

SINGAPORE, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- A total of 97 incidents of piracy and armed robbery were reported in Asia in 2020, representing a 17 percent rise in the total number of incidents from the year of 2019, according to a report released here Friday.

There were 95 actual incidents and two attempted incidents, registering an increase of 32 percent in actual incidents, said the annual report from the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP).

Of the 97 incidents, 93 were armed robbery against ships, while four were piracy.

Despite the increase of incidents, the severity level of incidents (violence to crew, stolen items) remained moderate, added the report.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of shipping for global trade. The 32 percent year-on-year increase in the actual incidents in 2020 is a stark reminder that more needs be done to enhance the safety of maritime transport and safeguard the well-being of crew," said Masafumi Kuroki, Executive Director of ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre, which is based in Singapore.

He also urged the littoral States to take petty theft and sea robbery seriously because leaving criminals to continue their crime with impunity will only embolden them to escalate their acts.

The report was released at the 12th Nautical Forum which was attended by about 100 participants from shipping companies, shipping associations, government or regulatory agencies, diplomatic missions as well as academic institutions.

ReCAAP is the first regional government-to-government agreement to promote and enhance cooperation against piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia. The ReCAAP Agreement was launched in November 2006. It now has 20 Contracting Parties.

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