Armed robberies in Singapore Strait rise during H1 2022

There was a recorded increase in armed robberies on vessels in the Singapore Strait during H1 2022, according to ReCAAP ISC’s half-yearly report. However, as these events were not on the open sea, they did not qualify as “piracy”. In fact the Asian region had no incident of piracy during the first half of the year. The 42 incidents of armed robbery against ships all occurred in internal waters, archipelagic waters and territorial seas. This represented an 11% increase on the 38 incidents reported during the same period in 2021.

The increase in incidents of armed robbery occurred in Bangladesh and Singapore Strait. Three incidents were reported in Bangladesh during H1 2022, up from zero in the same period last year. There were 27 incidents reported in the Singapore Strait, up from 20 incidents during H1 2021.

There was a decrease in incidents in the waters of Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. There were no incidents in Malaysia during H1, down from one in H1 2021. In the Philippines there were three incidents, down from six in H1 2021, while in Vietnam there were no incidents reported, compared to two incidents during H1 2021.

The Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters off Eastern Sabah remain quiet. The last incident was reported in January 2020. ReCAAP said that the threat of abduction of crew for ransom remained “potentially high”, particularly in the area of Sulu and nearby waters off Tawi-Tawi. This was because Abu Sayyaf Group commanders who were responsible for past incidents of abduction in Sulu remained at large, and there was a presence of remnants of the group in the area.