The incident, evaluated as CAT 4, occurred on 18 May, at approximately 3.3 nm southeast off Tanjung Piai, Malaysia, in the westbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) of the Singapore Strait.

While the tug boat towing barge was underway, the master of the tug boat reported to Singapore Vessel Traffic Information System (VTIS) via VHF that six perpetrators were boarding the barge from a small boat.

The master later reported that the perpetrators had left the barge with some tools stolen from the barge.

The tug boat and barge continued her voyage to Port Klang, Malaysia. The crew was not injured.

In April, ReCAAP ISC issued a special alert drawing attention to four incidents of unauthorised boarding of ships reported in locations of close proximity to each other, in the western sector of Singapore Strait, within 2019.

All four incidents occurred to tug boats towing barges and dredger while underway in the westbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS).

The ReCAAP ISC urges ship master and crew to report all incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships to the nearest coastal State and flag State, exercise vigilance and adopt relevant preventive measures taking reference from the Regional Guide to Counter Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships in Asia.