Asia now accounts for up to 60% of all piracy incidents in the world with 145 reported cases. The region’s share of global figures is increasing as the number of attacks in other parts of the world – particularly the Gulf of Aden and Somalia – continues to trend downwards, according to “Safety and Shipping Review 2015” by Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS).
“The most dangerous seas are in fact those of Southeast Asia, where pirates appear to be adopting the successful piracy model used in the Gulf of Aden, that is, holding ships and crew for ransom. This has resulted in a 75% annual increase in the number of vessels hijacked,” said Mr Ron Johnson, Regional Marine Manager at AGCS Pacific in Sydney.
Piracy attacks in the Malacca Straits have largely been subdued with the implementation of treaties between Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore, which have been backed by a strong naval presence. On the other hand, there has been a 150% increase in piracy incidents in the South China Sea, due to the vast coastal areas off Malaysia and Indonesia, combined with stretched law enforcement resources patrolling the area.
“Even minor skirmishes can have a significant impact on costs to seafarers and the wider shipping industry, from expensive rerouting and security costs, through to the rise in the cost of insurance premiums, not to mention the risk to cargoes and crews,” said Mr Johnson.
Losses concentrated in two maritime regions
The AGCS report also highlights another area of concern for cargo owners – the large number of total losses in the Asia Pacific region.
More than a third of 2014’s total losses globally were concentrated in two maritime regions. As in 2013, the South China, Indo China, Indonesia and the Philippines region saw the highest number of losses (17 ships), closely followed by Japan, Korea and North China (12 ships).