Piracy increases in Singapore Strait

According to the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC), there was an increase of piracy in the Singapore Strait in 2019 to 31 incidents from 7 in 2018.

ReCAAP ISC calls upon the littoral States to step up surveillance and patrol as well as to enhance their cooperation.

The shipping industry is advised to exercise utmost vigilance, adopt preventive measures and report all incidents immediately to the nearest coastal State.

Of the 31 incidents, 15 occurred in westbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) mostly from January to August, and 16 in the eastbound lane of the TSS from the end of September to December.

14 out of 15 incidents in the westbound lane of the TSS were on board barges towed by tug boats.

The stolen items were mainly scrap metals from barges (9 incidents). And since barges were unmanned, there was no confrontation between the crew and perpetrators and hence, no injury of the crew.

16 ships boarded in the eastbound lane of the TSS were bulk carriers (8), tankers (4), barges towed by tug boats (3), and VLCC (1).

In 10 incidents, nothing was stolen since the perpetrators escaped empty-handed once an alarm was activated.

In 6 incidents, items such as engine spares, scrap metals, locks and ropes and personal belongings were stolen.

Out of the 16 incidents, in 7 incidents, the perpetrators were discovered in the engine room; this may indicate that they targeted engine parts.

There were confrontations between the crew and perpetrators; in one incident, two crew members received minor injuries and in three incidents, some crew members were tied up.


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Two ships in the Singapore Strait were attacked by pirates within the span of an hour on early Feb 9 morning. These bring the total number of incidents reported in the Singapore Strait to six since the start of this year.