More government action is required to combat the theft of fuel by pirates from ships, with 17 incidents of "siphoning of fuel oil from tankers...reported in Asian waters" in the last four years, said the Asian Shipowners' Forum in a statement late Friday.
Receive daily email alerts, subscriber notes & personalize your experience.Register Now
The Safe Navigation & Environment Committee of the ASF concluded this at its 27th Interim Meeting in Shanghai, adding that the forum is "very concerned that the surge in the number of incidents in 2014 could result in a situation where vested commercial interests use alarmist press reports to depict scenarios where vessels transiting the Straits of Malacca and Singapore are forced to pay additional premiums."
Of the 17 incidents, five incidents were not successfully carried out "due to timely reporting and information sharing by the shipping industry, alert crewmen and immediate responses by the authorities," said the ASF.
The committee also said it hoped that governments continue to take pro-active measures to combat incidents of piracy and armed robbery in the region.
It further "urged the shipping community to take into consideration the ReCAAP ISC's [the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia - Information Sharing Center] recommendations...specifically aimed at countering the threat of fuel/oil siphoning."
The growing threat of piracy in the waters off West Africa and in the Gulf of Guinea was also a concern, with at least 23 incidents reported in West Africa, and Nigeria accounting for 10 of these, said the ASF.
The incidents took place in the first half of the year.
"In particular, the committee is deeply concerned that the 9 August attack on a product tanker 200 nautical miles off the shore of Nigeria is indicative of a marked escalation in the severity of incidents off West Africa," it said.
The ASF is a voluntary organization of the shipowner associations of Australia, China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, India, Japan, South Korea and the Federation of ASEAN Shipowners' Associations comprising shipping associations of ASEAN countries.
It has been estimated that ASF owners and managers control and operate nearly 50% of the world's cargo carrying fleet, said the organization.