Superyacht Industry experts endeavour to 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
The inaugural Singapore Yacht Show took place over the period April 8 – 10 at ONE°15 Marina Club.
Before the event, the third edition of the Asia Superyacht Conference a seminar run by the  Informa Yacht Group was held.
Opening speaker, Mr. Arthur Tay, Chairman of the Superyacht Singapore Association said he hoped the event would help promote Asia as the next playground for superyachts.
In 2010, Singapore alone saw a total of 81 unique superyacht visits – a five-fold increase from 2006.
Delegates were told that region was going to have to work hard to dispel the myth about piracy in the area, while arming superyacht captains and industry players with some useful tips on how to mitigate the risks.
Speakers suggested that regular media reports of the piracy crisis plaguing the Gulf of Aden, did little to help yachts heading for 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 on a panel discussion including superyacht Captains Richard Felton and Craig Mitchell, 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.
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.