International group notes increase in piracy and armed robbery in Asia
Increase in piracy and armed robbery incidents in Asia noted
MANILA – The recently-concluded two-day 14th Governing Council Meeting of the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships in Asia Information Sharing Center (ReCAAP ISC) noted an increase of piracy and armed robbery incidents in the region with 75 actual piracy and robbery incidents and two attempted criminal acts from January to September this year which saw an increase of 39% year-on-year.
The Centre disclosed the incidents of robberies and petty thefts in Singapore Strait and Manila Bay including the threat of abduction of crewmembers in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and waters of Easter Sabah.
Against the threats from lawless elements, the Council said there is a strong need for enhanced vigilance and cooperation among all stakeholders, specifically law enforcement agencies and the shipping industry.
The participants agreed to raise awareness and collect information of maritime terrorism and maritime cybersecurity because of their potential impact on piracy and armed robbery against ships.
The participants agreed to further strengthen the information sharing function of the Centre.
France and Germany have expressed to join the Council in addition to countries represented in the two-day virtual gathering from Australia, the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Kingdom of Cambodia, People’s Republic of China, Kingdom of Denmark, Republic of India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Kingdom of Norway, Republic of the Philippines, Republic of Singapore, Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Kingdom of Thailand, United Kingdom, Untied States of America and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.
The virtual meeting, chaired by Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Commandant Admiral George V. Ursabia, Jr. The Council is founded on three pillars, information sharing, capacity building and cooperative arrangements.
The Secretariat proposed to commemorate the 15th Anniversary of ReCAAP next year through its 15th Anniversary Symposium with the theme “Enhancing Regional Cooperation: 15 years and Beyond” planned on the occasion of the 15th Governing Council Meeting in March 2021. This has been scheduled for March 15-19,2021 in Singapore. (Melo M. Acuña)