One of the most bustling shipping routes in the world, the Singapore Strait, is experiencing a rise in sea robberies as economic pressures drive more to crimes of desperation.
The number of piracy and sea robbery incidents in Southeast Asia is reportedly on the rise, and the upward trend is expected to continue.
Attacks in the Singapore Strait are up by almost half, with 27 incidents this year compared to 20 last year. The attacks have been mostly non-violent, and most have involved small gangs of fewer than five people armed with knives.
Targets of the piracy include cargo ships, bulk carriers, and oil tankers.
The increase in incidents is believed to be a symptom of economic problems, like inflation, resulting from the pandemic and from the conflict in Ukraine. Attacks can exacerbate already difficult supply chain issues.
Security, organized by coastguards and law enforcement, has been increased in ports and anchorages in response to the uptick in attacks.
Increases in prices have put strain on low-income workers globally, including in Laos.
Price increases and inflation have been linked to increases in robbery in general.