Increased piracy in Singapore Strait fuels call for tighter security

Piracy incidents in 2019 more than quadrupled from the previous year, says maritime watchdog

Increased piracy in Singapore Strait fuels call for tighter security


By Gabriel Olano

Nations surrounding the Singapore Strait must implement better security patrols and surveillance after a more than four-fold increase in piracy incidents in 2019, according to the regional maritime watchdog.

The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) revealed that the number of piracy and armed robbery incidents in the strategic waterway spiked to 31 in 2019, up from seven in 2018, Reuters reported. This was the highest since 2015, when 99 incidents were reported.

All over Asia, there was a slight increase in incidents, with 82 in total. However, this was still the second-lowest since 2007. The incidents were mostly minor cases of scrap metal theft, although some involved bladed weapons, and in one instance, a gun, ReCAAP said.

“We would like to ask the littoral states – Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia – to enhance the surveillance and control in the Singapore Strait because of this rapid increase of incidents,” said Masafumi Kuroki, executive director of ReCAAP.

Singapore’s defence ministry said that it will host meetings of military leaders from Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand to discuss a response to the wave of piracy incidents.

Fortunately, the increase in piracy has had limited effect on the shipping and marine insurance industries.

“The cost to the shipping industry of these claims is fairly low,” Jack Marriott-Smalley, regional underwriting director at Charles Taylor Mutual Management, told Reuters.


“Wile it will get a quite a few headlines, the impact on the shipping sector won’t be that high.”

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