Superyacht Industry experts dispel myths about piracy in Asia

Mr. Arthur Tay, Chairman of the Superyacht Singapore Association opening the third edition of the Asia Superyacht Conference.
Informa Yacht Group
To help promote Asia as the next playground for superyachts, the third Asia Superyacht Conference set the tone by dispelling the myth about piracy in the region, while arming superyacht captains and industry players with some useful tips on how to mitigate the risks.

In 2010, Singapore alone saw a total of 81 unique superyacht visits – a five-fold increase from 2006. This is a clear indication that superyacht owners are beginning to sit up and take notice of the stunningly beautiful and relatively unexplored waters of Asia.

Various countries in the region are also beginning to recognise the economic benefits they can reap from the burgeoning superyacht industry, with, for example, an estimated 100 marinas being planned in China.

'The Asia Pacific region is a new and exciting market for the yachting industry. Captains need to plan their itineraries up to a year in advance, and our ability to get 12 large yachts (more than 20m in length over all) to commit to the show with just three month’s notice is testament to the fact that the industry recognises the potential in this market. This year’s show is a preview of what is to come in future years,' said Andy Treadwell, Managing Director of Informa Yacht Group (IYG), organiser of the inaugural Singapore Yacht Show.

The third Asia Superyacht Conference opened today with industry thought-leaders and experts tackling piracy concerns for superyachts, especially with regular media reports of the piracy crisis plaguing the Gulf of Aden, an important maritime crossing for shipping lines and superyachts cruising to and from the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean.

The recently formed Information Fusion Centre, a multi-national maritime security information sharing centre situated in Singapore, revealed statistics on piracy incidences involving leisure craft in the Gulf of Aden. The Centre also provides intelligence for superyacht captains and owners, as well as advice on security precautions when traversing the Gulf of Aden.

According to figures shared by the Orchid Office, vessels passing through the Gulf of Aden stand a 2 per cent chance of falling into the hands of pirates. There are currently 22 merchant vessels, 5 fishing vessels and 2 sailing yachts in pirate captivity in that region.

Speakers also shared some insights on how risk-management preparations, proper crew training and yacht security systems can help superyachts better identify a potential pirate attack.

A significant number of superyacht captains and owners in the Mediterranean and Caribbean remain hesitant when it comes to exploring the beautiful cruising grounds that Southeast Asia can offer, due to the perceived piracy threat in this region too.

However, a panel discussion involving highly experienced Captains Richard Felton and Craig Mitchell, together with Jan-Maarten Boissevain of Sevenstar Yacht Transport, dispelled myths about attacks in Asia. They highlighted the world of difference between the occasional attack in the Malaccan Straits – really uncommon nowadays, and then invariably on commercial vessels - as compared to the highly-organised pirate groups operating in the Gulf of Aden.

'In South East Asia, piracy is mainly opportunistic petty theft. Countries in this region are collaborating closely with each other, and by maintaining regular patrols and joint patrol exercises, they have successfully reduced the number of piracy incidents in the region. Superyacht crews need to remain vigilant nevertheless, and having a proper risk-management system in place will ensure that your cruising experience in this region will be a safe and comfortable one,' said Richard Skinner, Director, Orchid Office.

The Singapore Yacht Show is supported by Superyacht Singapore Association, with ONE°15 Marina Club as the official venue partner, and Singapore Tourism Board, BMW Group Asia, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Singapore, and Bank Julius Baer as the show’s main sponsors.

The Singapore Yacht Show takes place from April 8 – 10 at ONE°15 Marina Club. Show timings run daily from 3pm to 9pm. For more information on event schedules and highlights, please visit www.singaporeyachtshow.com