Singapore, Sep 20 Indian Coast Guard has helped control ship robberies in Indian waters as no incidents of piracy have been reported in the past three months, according to a Singapore-based regional group to enhance cooperation against piracy in Asia.
"India has strengthened patrol and surveillance, and there were no incidents since May," said Masafumi Kuroki, Executive Director of Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP).
The number of incidents involving ship robberies from January to May this year had doubled to 12 from a year ago.
Eight of these incidents occurred in waters off Kandla in India. It was the highest number of incidents in Indian waters in five years, Kuroki said, adding 92 per cent of the incidents were of minor category by unarmed men who escaped empty-handed on being sighted by ship crew.
On February 22, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) chased an unlit fishing boat and arrested eight perpetrators with crime- committing tools, he said.
In response to the increase in incidents at certain ports and anchorages in India since January, the ICG had intensified its sea patrolling activities especially during hours of darkness, noted the ReCAAP.
Overall, the situation of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia continued to improve with no incident of abduction of crew and hijacking of ships, said ReCAAP in its August monthly report.
The group reported 54 incidents of piracy in Asian waters between January and August this year, down 64 per cent from 151 for the same period a year ago. ReCAAP is the first regional government-to-government agreement to promote and enhance cooperation against piracy and armed robbery in Asia.
So far, 20 countries have become Contracting Parties to the group.