Panaji– 2016 saw a significant decline in incidents of piracy and armed robbery in the South Asian seas, as compared to 2015, Goa Governor Mridula Sinha said on Wednesday.

The Governor was speaking after inaugurating a three-day international seminar on Regional Co-operation for Safe Sea and Secure Seas in Cavelossim beach village, 45 km from here.

“Incidents of piracy and armed robbery curbed significantly because of the promptness and vigilance shown by the Indian Coast Guard. In 2015, 203 incidents of piracy and armed robbery were registered in Asia.

“In 2016, 85 incidents of piracy and armed robbery were registered,” she said, attributing the 58 per cent decline to the role played by the Coast Guard.

The seminar is being organised to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Coast Guard and the 10th anniversary of the ReCAAP (Regional Co-operation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia) and is attended by 50 foreign delegates.

The seminar is also aimed at promoting awareness among seafarers and policy-makers on the importance of cooperation towards ensuring the safety of life and property at sea.

Speaking on the occasion, Coast Guard Director General Rajendra Singh said the result in the fall in piracy and armed robbery in high seas off Asia was a result of collaboration within agencies of the region.

“The overall improvement of the situation of piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia in 2016 demonstrates the effectiveness of the information sharing mechanism of ReCAAP and the close cooperation between Asian countries,” she said.

ReCAAP is the first regional government-to-government agreement to promote and enhance cooperation against piracy and armed robbery in Asia and 20 states have become contracting parties to ReCAAP since it was signed 10 years back.

The three-day event would culminate with a sea-exercise off Goa on February 10. (IANS)