Theft and robbery from ships remains a problem in South-East Asia

A global decline over the past few years in the amount of piracy in international waters has not been matched by a fall in theft and robbery in South-East Asia, the latest Information Fusion Centre (IFC) Annual Report has sown.

The IFC is a regional Maritime Security (MARSEC) centre hosted by the Singapore Navy. MARSEC analyzes and reports on levels of piracy, sea robbery, maritime terrorism, contraband smuggling, illegal fishing and irregular human migration.

In 2022, the IFC recorded a total of 2,960 incidents across all eight IFC MARSEC categories, up by 31% year on year from the 2,250 incidents recorded in 2021.

MARSEC recorded an increase in reported incidents for all IFC MARSEC categories apart from Maritime Terrorism and Environmental Security.

Irregular Human Migration (IHM) saw the highest percentage year-on-year increase in reported incidents in 2022, which MARSEC was probably due to the addition of new IHM incidents originating from Sri Lanka, where local economic and security conditions had deteriorated.

Theft, Robbery, and Piracy at Sea (TRAPS) were up by 13% year on year, with 104 incidents being recorded, up from 92 in 2021. The main area of concern for this sector was in the Singapore Strait (SS), which is shared by Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. This region recorded 55 TRAPS incidents in 2022.

The modus operandi of the perpetrators remained largely opportunistic and consistent with that of petty crime.