Piracy and Kidnapping in Sulu & Celebes Sea
by Despina Kalfa.

According to ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre Special Report on Abducting of Crew from Ships in the Sulu-Celebes Sea and Waters off Eastern Sabah (Part III) – Issued 31/3/2017, from March 2016 until March 2017 a total of 22 incidents (13 actual and 9 attempted) have been reported in the Sulu-Celebes Sea and waters off Eastern Sabah, with a total of 58 crew members being abducted. It is interesting to note that even though between March and September 2016 fishing trawlers and tug boats towing barges were targeted, since October 2016 they began attacking larger vessels, thereby presenting a threat to both international and regional traffic.

Additionally, as per ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre 2017 1st quarter report, a total of 20 incidents (15 actual and 5 attempted) had been reported, constituting an increase in the number of attempted incidents even though compared to the 1st quarter of 2016 the number of actual incidents had decreased by 12%. It is believed that the comparative decrease in the attempted incidents is an indication of successful efforts by the crew to deter boarding by perpetrators.