The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) has issued an alert following three incidents of armed robbery in the Singapore Strait.
During October 25 and 26, three incidents of armed robbery against ships occurred on board ships while underway in the eastbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) in the Singapore Strait. The incidents occurred within intervals of two hours and in close proximity to each other. With these three incidents, a total of six incidents were reported on board ships in the eastbound lane of the TSS during 11-26 October 2020. It is the highest number of incidents reported in one month compared to the previous months of 2020.
In all six incidents, there was no confrontation between the perpetrators and the crew. One lifebuoy and some welding rods were stolen in one incident, and nothing was stolen in the other five incidents. With the six incidents in October, a total of 28 incidents have been reported in the Singapore Strait since January 2020. Of these, 24 incidents occurred in the eastbound lane of the TSS, one incident in the westbound lane of the TSS, two incidents in the precautionary area, and one incident just outside (south) of the TSS. In 2019, a total of 31 incidents were reported in the Singapore Strait; of which 17 incidents occurred in the eastbound lane, and 14 incidents in the westbound lane.
ReCAAP is concerned with the increase of incidents in the Singapore Strait. As the perpetrators of these incidents are not arrested, there is a possibility of further incidents in the Singapore Strait. All ships are therefore advised to exercise utmost vigilance, adopt extra precautionary measures and report all incidents immediately to the nearest coastal nation. Ship master and crew are advised to keep abreast of the latest situation via ReCAAP and tune-in to advisories and navigational broadcasts announced by the littoral States. ReCAAP also urges the littoral States to increase patrols and enforcement in their respective waters, strengthen coordination among them and promote information sharing on incidents and criminal groups involved in order to arrest the perpetrators.