Through close collaboration between Singaporean and Indonesian authorities, the Indonesian Navy (TNI AL) apprehended three perpetrators who had boarded a Liberian-flagged bulk carrier Sam Jaguar in the Singapore Strait on 16 Mar, in the waters east of Pulau Karimun Kecil, Indonesia. The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN)’s Maritime Security Task Force (MSTF) and Information Fusion Centre (IFC) played a key role in disrupting the sea robbery.
At 5.11 am on 16 March, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore’s Port Operations Control Centre (POCC) received a report from Sam Jaguar that robbers had boarded their ship, and were locked in in the engine room by the ship crew.
The RSN’s MSTF commenced close monitoring of the vessel, and despatched the Littoral Mission Vessel RSS Independence and Police Coast Guard craft towards the location of the incident, to be prepared to respond if the vessel entered Singapore territorial waters. Simultaneously, the RSN’s IFC shared information on the incident and perpetrators with the Indonesian authorities via the information-sharing portal IFC Real-time Information-sharing System (IRIS).
MPA’s POCC shared the report with the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against ships in Asia (ReCAAP)’s Information Sharing Centre in Singapore.
The TNI AL subsequently deployed two ships and one helicopter to hail and board Sam Jaguar in Indonesian Territorial Waters. Acting on the information shared by the IFC, the TNI AL successfully apprehended three perpetrators. The crew on board the bulk carrier were safe and unharmed.
Speaking about the incident, Lieutenant-Colonel Gary Ow, Head IFC, said, “Today’s operational outcome is due to the good cooperation and quick response between Singaporean and Indonesian enforcement agencies. By working closely together with the shipping community and littoral states to monitor our waters and share information, we can quickly cue operational responses and keep up the pressure on sea robbers to bring sea robbery incidents down.”
According to ReCAAP, the Singapore Strait experienced a rise in piracy and armed robbery incidents against ships in recent years, spiking from seven in 2018 to 31 in 2019. This was a significant rise from eight reported incidents in 2017, and two in 2016. The number of cases rose in Asia as well, from 76 reported incidents in 2018 to 82 reported incidents in 2019.