ReCAAP ISC: Incidents involving ships in Singapore Strait

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Map – Approximate location of the three incidents in the eastbound lane of Singapore Strait on 20 December 2019 (Image Courtesy: ReCAAP ISC)

ReCAAP ISC issued two Incident Alerts (IA 05/2019 on 23 October 2019[1] and IA 06/2019 on 29 November 2019[2]) on incidents occurred to ships while underway in the eastbound lane of Singapore Strait. On 20 December 2019, another three incidents were reported in the eastbound lane of the Singapore Strait on the same day. Of the three ships that were boarded, two were bulk carriers and one was a tanker. Due to the proximity of the incidents, the same group of perpetrators responsible for the incidents on 20 December 2019 cannot be ruled out.

With the three incidents that occurred on 20 December 2019, a total of 27 incidents have been reported in the Singapore Strait in 2019. Of these, 15 occurred to ships while underway in the westbound lane of the Singapore Strait and 12 incidents in the eastbound lane of the Strait.

The ReCAAP ISC advises all ships to exercise enhanced vigilance, adopt extra precautionary measures and report all incidents immediately to the nearest coastal State. The ReCAAP ISC recommends to the law enforcement agencies of the littoral States to step up surveillance, increase patrols and enhance cooperation and coordination among them in order to respond promptly to incidents.

Detail of Incidents

On 21 December 2019, the ReCAAP Focal Point (Singapore) reported to ReCAAP ISC the occurrence of three incidents in locations of close proximity to each other in the Singapore Strait on 20 December 2019. All three incidents occurred to ships while underway in the eastbound lane of the eastern sector of the Singapore Strait. Refer to the map in the following page on the approximate location of the three incidents.

The details of the three incidents are described as follows:

a. On 20 Dec 19 at about 0532 hrs, bulk carrier, Jian Fa was underway in the Singapore Strait bound for China when an unknown number of perpetrators boarded the bulk carrier. The Singapore Police Coast Guard notified the Singapore Vessel Traffic Information System (VTIS) about the boarding. At about 0700 hrs, the ship informed Singapore VTIS that a search on board the ship was conducted and there was no sighting of the perpetrators. Nothing was stolen. All crew are safe and the ship resumed her voyage.

b. On 20 Dec 19 at about 2325 hrs, tanker, Jag Lalit was underway in the Singapore Strait bound for Kaoshiung, Taiwan, China when six perpetrators armed with knives boarded the ship. The 4th Engineer was punched in the face; while the chief engineer sustained bruises on the neck and had a gold chain stolen from him. The master reported the incident to Singapore VTIS; and deviated the ship to Singapore to ensure the safety of crew, before proceed on her voyage. The Republic of Singapore Navy, Singapore Police Coast Guard and Indonesian authority were notified. A safety navigational broadcast was also initiated. Upon the ship’s arrival in Singapore, the Singapore Police Coast Guard boarded the ships for investigation and verified that all crew are safe.

c. On 20 Dec 19 at about 2338 hrs, bulk carrier, Akij Globe was underway in the Singapore Strait when five armed perpetrators were sighted in the engine room. The alarm was raised and upon hearing the alarm, the perpetrators confronted three crew in the engine room. The five perpetrators escaped with stolen engine and generator spares in a white small boat. The master reported the incident to the Singapore VTIS and resumed her passage to Singapore. The Republic of Singapore Navy, Singapore Police Coast Guard and Indonesian authority were notified. A safety navigational broadcast was also initiated. The Singapore Police Coast Guard boarded the ship upon arrival at Singapore anchorage. All crew was safe.

Sea News, December 23

Baibhav Mishra
Author: Baibhav Mishra