Southeast Asia recorded a 38% increase in maritime crime incidents for the first nine months of the year compared with the same period in 2014, according to a statement of the U.K maritime intelligence specialist Dryad Maritime .
The number of reported incidents has jumped from 140 on the same nine-month period in 2014 to 194 in 2015. The main focus for criminal gangs in the region has been the petty theft of ships stores as gangs look to steal engine parts and high value machinery for resale on the black market. In total 14 vessels have been hijacked in Southeast Asia in 2015 to date.
Dryad Maritime analysts have identified the Singapore Strait as a key area for increased vigilance. Between January and September they recorded 90 instances of theft or attempted theft with more than 80% of these crimes occurring in the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) between Pulau Karimun Kecil and Pulau Besar during the hours of darkness.
The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) and Indonesian authorities have made repeated announcements pledging to enhance patrol cooperation and coordination in the region, yet according to Dryad analysts there remains little by way of a regular presence in this particular area. Ian Millen, Dryad Maritime’s Chief Operating Officer stated, “In Southeast Asia, the final quarter of the last three years has seen the highest numbers of incidents per quarter and we see no reason why this will not remain the same this year; a year in which we’ve already seen the highest number of incidents in the first nine months. There is a pressing need for a joined-up security effort in the Singapore Strait and other areas. Without a high visual presence from security agencies, criminal gangs will continue to operate freely with little fear of capture or prosecution.”
Dryad contrasts its report of the worrying increase in Southeast Asia maritime crime with the good news following BIMCO’s recent announcement on a planned reduction of the BMP 4 High Risk Area (HRA).
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