The number of piracy incidents in Asian waters in the first six months of 2020 was almost double than the corresponding period last year, according to a report released on Friday.

There were 50 incidents of piracy and armed robbery and one failed attempt in Asia from January to June this year, said a report by the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP).

It said there were 28 incidents – 25 actual incidents and three attempts – in the same period in 2019.

“This accounts for close to a two-fold increase in the total number of incidents reported during January-June 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. Of the 51 incidents, 49 were incidents of armed robbery against ships and two were piracy incidents,” read the report by the Singapore-based organization.

It said more incidents were reported in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, the South China Sea, and the Singapore Strait.

The highest number of incidents – 16 – were in the Singapore Strait, according to the report.

“There was an improvement at the ports/anchorages in China during January-June 2020,” said the report.

It said perpetrators were arrested at Chittagong anchorage in Bangladesh, off Gujarat and Alang in India, off Pulau Batam in Indonesia, and in the Singapore Strait.

The organization called on law enforcement agencies “to enhance surveillance, increase patrols and respond promptly to incidents … to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators.”

“Ship masters and crew are strongly advised to exercise vigilance, maintain constant lookout for suspicious boats in the vicinity, report all incidents immediately to the nearest coastal State,” the report advised.

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