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Combating Piracy in Asia

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Nahush Paranjpye

Published: February 15, 2021

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Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery in Asia (ReCAAP)

The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) is the first regional government-to-government agreement to promote and enhance cooperation against piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia.

The ReCAAP Agreement was launched in November 2006 with 14 Asian Contracting Parties including North, Southeast, and South Asian countries. It has 20 Contracting Parties today, including Europe (Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark, and the United Kingdom), Australia, and the United States.

The ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (Centre / ReCAAP ISC) was established in Singapore on November 29, 2006. At the 12th Governing Council Meeting in 2018, the Council announced that ReCAAP ISC has met the criteria to be a Centre of Excellence for information sharing in combating piracy and armed robbery against ships at sea. Information sharing is at the core of the Centre’s work. Periodic reports are sent out to provide the statistics, analysis of situation and recommendations. Data analytics used to analyse a long-term trend of incidents.

ReCAAP ISC works closely with the Focal Points (A designated contact point of each ReCAAP Contracting Party), other governmental agencies, the shipping industry, as well as with international and regional partners such as the International Maritime Organization in order to achieve the shared goal.

The ISC has a full-time secretariat to undertake daily operations, along with representatives from the ReCAAP member countries. The core activities include:

  • Co-ordinate communications and exchange of information between member countries;
  • Expedite appropriate response by member countries to attack incidents;
  • Record and analyse statistics for piracy and armed robbery in the region;
  • Assist in the improvement of anti-piracy capabilities of member countries.

In keeping with the technological advances on board vessels with regard to communication capabilities, ReCAAP ISC launched its Mobile App in 2014. Renamed as “ReCAAP” in 2018, the App is linked to the ReCAAP ISC website to enhance accessibility and utilization. The ReCAAP App contains three primary modules, i.e. Directory (of ReCAAP Focal Points/Contact Point), Publication and Reporting.

While the situation of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia has improved in recent years when compared to the early 2000s, the threat against ships and seafarers is still present. Given the level of trade transiting these waterways, the strategic importance of the Malacca and Singapore Straits to global economics cannot be underestimated. It is vitally important that any threat to international navigation in the region is actively challenged by the littoral states and other stakeholders. No one agency nor State can combat the maritime threats alone as this is a “shared responsibility” of all the stakeholders.

Contracting Parties of ReCAAP

  1. Australia
  2. Brunei Darussalam
  3. Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
  4. Japan
  5. Kingdom of Cambodia
  6. Kingdom of Denmark
  7. Kingdom of Norway
  8. Kingdom of Thailand
  9. Kingdom of the Netherlands
  10. Lao People’s Democratic Republic
  11. People’s Republic of Bangladesh
  12. People’s Republic of China
  13. Republic of India
  14. Republic of Korea
  15. Republic of Singapore
  16. Republic of the Philippines
  17. Republic of the Union of Myanmar
  18. Socialist Republic of Vietnam
  19. United Kingdom
  20. United States of America




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