The number of incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia in October increased slightly year on year with more attacks in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia, or ReCAAP, said Wednesday.
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Nine incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported in October, up from seven in October last year. Of these, seven were actual incidents and two were attempted ones. Of the nine incidents, two were piracy attacks and seven armed robberies.
Mostly opportunistic in nature, the perpetrators boarded the ships unnoticed under cover of darkness and escaped when they were sighted and the alarm was raised. In four incidents, the perpetrators escaped without stealing anything after the alarm was raised.
Over January-October, the total number of incidents fell to the lowest level in 10 years. ReCAAP, however, urged coastal states and the shipping industry against complacency.
There were no fresh reports of abduction of crews from ships in the Sulu-Celebes Sea and off Eastern Sabah, and none of hijacking of ships to steal oil cargoes in October, ReCAAP said in its report.
The last incident reported to ReCAAP occurred on board the Super Shuttle Tug 1 on March 23. The last attempted incident occurred on board the Dona Annabel on April 18, it added.
As of October 31, however, 14 crew members were still being held in captivity. The Philippine authorities continued to conduct pursuit operations and intensify its military operations to rescue the abducted crew and neutralize the militant group, ReCAAP said.
--Wanda Wang, firstname.lastname@example.org
--Edited by E Shailaja Nair, email@example.com