Specifically, the master of the tanker reported the incident to the Singapore Vessel Traffic Information System (VTIS) at about 0142 hrs, while the ship was plying in the eastbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) of the Singapore Strait (SS), at approximately 6.5 nm North East of Terumbu Betata, Batam Island.

The perpetrators tied up the duty oiler in the engine room, took away some engine spare parts and escaped in a small boat. The small boat was seen moving towards the southerly direction.

The master raised the alarm and conducted a security search on board the ship. No other perpetrators were found. The crew was not injured and the ship is proceeding towards the next port of call in China.

This is the seventh incident reported to have occurred in the Singapore Strait (SS) since January 2017, compared to two incidents during January-October 2016.

Of the seven incidents reported during January-October 2017, five were actual incidents and two were attempted incidents. Of these; six incidents occurred in the eastbound lane of the TSS of the SS, and one incident occurred in the westbound lane of the TSS.

"The ReCAAP ISC is concerned with an increase of incidents in the SS; and advises all ships to exercise enhanced vigilance while underway in the SS and report all incidents to the nearest coastal State and flag State immediately," ReCAAP said in its statement.