Incidents of piracy and armed robbery in Asia sank to a 13 year low in the first quarter of 2019, latest industry figures show.

There was a total of 10 incidents of armed robbery against ships – nine actual incidents and one attempted incident, according to the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery (ReCAAP).

This compares to 21 incidents – 15 actual incidents and six attempted incidents – which took place during January-March 2018, the Singapore-based anti-piracy body said.

“This accounts for a 52% decrease in the total number of incidents reported during January-March 2019 compared to the same period in 2018,” said ReCAAP.

“The number of actual incidents has also decreased by 40% during January-March 2019 compared to the same period last year.”

The nine actual incidents reported during January-March 2019 were less severe incidents with one CAT 3 incident and eight CAT 4, or petty theft, incidents

ReCAAP highlighted the improvements at some ports and anchorages so far this year, compared to the corresponding period in 2018.

“The improvement was most apparent at the ports and anchorages in Indonesia; with three incidents reported in Indonesia during January-March 2019 compared to nine incidents during the same period in 2018,” it said.

“There were also improvements at the ports and anchorages in Bangladesh, India and Vietnam.”

These ports and anchorages had an incident free quarter between January-March 2019, compared to three incidents reported in Bangladesh and two incidents each in India and Vietnam in the same period last year.

Despite these improvements there was some concern at the increase in the number of incidents at some anchorages in China.

In February this year, Rio Tinto’s 205,417-dwt bulker RTM Dampier (built 2012) was targeted by Chinese fuel thieves in what was the latest in a series of similar attacks.

It was at anchor off the port of Caofeidian in northern China when it was boarded and an unspecified amount of diesel oil was stolen.

ReCAAP said it was also concerned about incidents of scrap metal theft from barges while underway in the Singapore Strait during the first quarter of 2019.