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The UK’s leading maritime intelligence provider, Dryad Maritime today release their latest report ‘Special Advisory Southeast Asia. Disorganised Theft To Organised Crime’ which focuses on the rise of targeted hijackings in Southeast Asia.
The report offers the reader a thorough and in-depth insight into how and why the trend of boarding and hijacking of product tankers and fuel barges has re-emerged over the last 6 months. Analysis of these incidents has shown that the hijack of merchant vessels does not follow the same pattern as seen in the Horn of Africa where vessels and crew are taken to be ransomed back to their original owners. In Southeast Asia, a concerning new trend is emerging which sees sophisticated, intelligence led hijackings, targeting vessels for their cargo or for the hull, to pre-arranged customers. 2012 saw an 8.5% increase in maritime crime throughout Southeast Asia which now stands at 44% of all maritime based criminal activity reported worldwide.
Karen Jacques, Chief Operating Officer, Dryad Maritime:
“Our Southeast Asia special advisory is specifically designed to forewarn and equip maritime operators with the latest intelligence on the region which will allow them to plan their transits and assess risk accurately. Our analysts have collated intelligence from a wide range of sources to produce this unique and essential report into the growth of maritime crime in the region. It highlights emerging areas of risk which cannot be treated with complacency and also provides clear advice that will enable Masters and crew to implement new procedures that will help to significantly reduce risk.”
The number of incidents of piracy or attempted piracy around the Malacca Strait has significantly reduced from 38 in 2004 to just 2 in 2012 thanks to greater effective collaboration between its littoral states. However, as a result criminal syndicates have now moved their operations to the Singapore Straits, the South China Sea and the Indonesian archipelago, where continued border disputes between neighbouring states have hindered attempts to fully integrate anti-piracy operations in the region.
This lack of cooperation has resulted in a steady increase in maritime crime. In the ‘Special Advisory Southeast Asia: Disorganised Theft to Organised Crime’, analysis conducted by Dryad Maritime Intelligence of such attacks in both the South China Sea and the Singapore Straits has revealed significant differences in the modus operandi in both areas.
Ian Millen, Dryad Maritime’s Head of Intelligence:
“Whilst low level opportunistic robbery of ships at anchor and alongside represents the majority of maritime crime in the region, it is organised, sophisticated piracy operations which are of the greatest concern. Analysis would suggest that organised criminal syndicates are targeting vessels for their cargo. This targeting suggests insider information detailing a ship’s cargo, intended route and transit times is being passed to criminals before the vessel has even put to sea. Unlike piracy operations in the Horn of Africa, it is likely that an increasing majority of attacks are ‘made to order’ with buyers in place before the event takes place”.
Attempts by the nations of Southeast Asia at reducing piracy and maritime crime, have so far had limited effect. A combination of complex archipelagic geography and under-resourced maritime security forces, all suggest this trend of increasing maritime criminal activity is likely to continue in the foreseeable future. Until there is a concerted and consistent multi-national, multi-agency effort to combat the increasing threat of high end organised hijacking, those operating in the area should be particularly vigilant and ensure they are fully prepared and protected against all threats.
Providing detailed insight into the evolving trend of piracy to target commercial vessels, this special advisory is essential reading for Shipowners, Managers and Charterers operating in areas spanning the Singapore Straits, the South China Sea and the Indonesian archipelago.