Just one incident of armed robbery against ships in India, says regional maritime agency

Singapore: There was just one reported incident of armed robbery against ships in India during January-March 2023 compared to two incidents during the same period in 2022, according to a regional maritime agency.

No incident was reported in Bangladesh, the Singapore-based Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) said in its quarterly report released on Thursday.

A total of 25 incidents happened during the January-March 2023 period in other parts of Asia, it reported.

This accounts for a 9 per cent increase in the total number of incidents during the same period in 2022 when 23 incidents were reported during January-March 2022.

All the incidents reported during January-March 2023 were armed robberies against ships. No piracy incident was reported.

The increase of incidents during January-March 2023 occurred in Indonesia, the Philippines, and the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS).

Meanwhile, the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC) and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Global Maritime Crime Programme (GMCP) signed on Friday a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen cooperation between the two organisations in combating maritime crime and piracy as well as armed robbery against ships in Asia.

Krishnaswamy Natarajan, the Executive Director of ReCAAP ISC, said: “The MoU with UNODC GMCP will expand ReCAAP ISC’s network of cooperative arrangements with international organisations, and provide the centre with greater access to information, expertise and insights regarding maritime crimes and maritime security in Asia.

“We are pleased to partner with UNODC GMCP to support the safety and security of mariners traversing the region.” Siri Bjune, the Head of UNODC GMCP, added: ”The signing of the MoU between UNODC GMCP and ReCAAP ISC signifies our strong joint commitment in the continued fight against maritime crime and illicit activities at sea.” Under the MoU, ReCAAP ISC and UNODC GMCP have agreed to exchange information and material on threats and trends related to maritime crime, piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia.

The MoU will also facilitate reciprocal representation by the ReCAAP ISC and UNODC GMCP at meetings, forums and activities convened by either party.

The signing of the MoU builds on the existing collaborative relationship between the ReCAAP ISC and UNODC GMCP.

The ReCAAP ISC, since 2018, has been participating in the Contact Group Meetings on the Sulu and Celebes Seas (CGSCS) organised by UNODC GCMP. CGSCS is a multi-stakeholder approach that brings together key maritime partners to provide a comprehensive and shared understanding of key issues and responses to maritime crimes in the Sulu and Celebes Seas.