A concerted effort by Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore to tackle piracy and robberies in nearby waters saw the number of incidents nosedive in the first six months of the year.
The countries pumped more resources into patrol activities, and one even zeroed in on prime suspects and issued them with stiff warnings.
Their activities cut the number of such incidents in the Strait of Singapore and Strait of Malacca to just one in the first six months .
This was after a spike last year, with the number hitting 104, up from 48 in 2014, according to the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) Information Sharing Centre.
The Malaysian and Indonesian authorities have improved their capabilities to address such incidents, noted Dr Collin Koh, a research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies' (RSIS) maritime security programme.
For instance, by October last year, the Royal Malaysian Navy had set up a Rapid Deployment Team to tackle crimes such as ship hijackings quickly, according to the Bernama news agency. The team consisted of two groups comprising 14 members and was equipped with two helicopters and a gunboat, an official was quoted as saying.
The three countries (Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia also stepped up efforts to detect unregistered ships around ports, and intensified checks on ships entering and leaving ports, and this has deterred some would-be offenders, said ReCAAP deputy director Nicholas Teo.
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The Straits Times
Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia stepped up efforts to detect unregistered ships around ports, and intensified checks on ships entering and leaving ports, and this has deterred some would-be offenders, said ReCAAP deputy director Nicholas Teo.PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN FOR THE STRAITS TIMES