A total of 43 piracy attacks and armed robbery in Asia were reported in the first half of this year, a sharp decline from those in the same period of the previous two years, the Information Sharing Center for a regional agreement against piracy said on Thursday.
There were 79 incidents reported in the first half year of 2006 and 75 in 2005.
The Governing Council of the Information Sharing Center of the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP ISC) released the figures at a special meeting held here to review the center's activities and development in its first six months of operations.
The Council recognized that efforts to combat piracy and armed robbery against ships need to continue, despite the general decrease of the piracy incidents.
"The Council thus reaffirmed its resolve to make the ReCAAP a key pillar in efforts against piracy and armed robbery in Asia," the Council said in a statement.
All the ReCAAP contracting parties, including 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China, Japan, South Korea, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, agreed to hold a capacity building workshop in October that would enhance regional cooperation and the abilities of the Focal Points of ReCAAP parties to respond to piracy incidents.
They also agreed to cooperate with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on anti-piracy and armed robbery efforts in the Asian region, as well as to share expertise and best practices where possible.
The ReCAAP, which was concluded in Tokyo in November 2004 and came into force in September 2006, is the first regional government-to-government agreement aiming to boost anti-piracy collaboration among members.
The Information Sharing Center, which was set up in Singapore in November last year, is a central element of the ReCAAP initiative to harness the collective resources and expertise of regional governments to combat piracy.