Piracy on the rise again in the Malacca Straits

The Maritime Executive. By Wendy Laursen.

Two separate piracy incidents on Saturday have led the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) to issue a warning to masters transiting the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.

In one incident, the Luxembourg-registered container ship MSC Vancouver was boarded while underway approximately nine nautical miles northeast of Pulau Karimun Besar. Seven pirates armed with knives and tools boarded the ship and robbed the second engineer of a gold watch and chain.

A few hours earlier, four men boarded the Marshall Islands-registered bulk carrier Capetan Giorgis while it was underway 3.8 nautical miles off Tanjung Sengkuang, Batam. Nothing appears to be missing from the vessel as a result.

Both crews are safe.

ReCAAP has issued the following warning: “From the close proximity of the two incidents, it is of high probability that the robbers will continue to pry in this area over the next few days. The ReCAAP ISC recommends vessels to take extra precautionary measures when operating in this area, especially in the hours of darkness, post extra all round lookouts and alert the authorities as soon as possible, even in attempted cases. The Centre also urges law enforcement agencies to heighten their attention to this area.”

There were 11 incidents of piracy and armed robbery reported in Asia in February 2015. Of those, five occurred on board ships while underway in the eastbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore and one while underway in the Malacca Strait.

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