- 95 vessels boarded,
- 10 vessels fired upon,
- 10 attempted attacks, and
- four vessels hijacked.
-December 19 incidents-
At about 0532 hours, Jian Fa bulk carrier was sailing through the Singapore Strait towards China when an unknown number of perpetrators boarded the bulk carrier. The Singapore Police Coast Guard notified the Singapore Vessel Traffic Information System (VTIS), and around 0700 hours, the ship informed Singapore VTIS that a search on board the ship was conducted and there was no sighting of the perpetrators. The crew remained safe and there was nothing stolen from the vessel.
On the same date, at around 2325 hours, Jag Lalit tanker, was sailing through the Singapore Strait, going to Kaoshiung, Taiwan, China, when six perpetrators armed with knives boarded the ship. The fourth engineer was punched in the face, while the chief engineer sustained bruises on the neck and had a gold chain stolen from him. Therefore, the Captain informed the Singapore VTIS and sailed to Singapore to make sure that the crew was safe, prior to continuing their voyage.
At 2338 hours, Akij Globe bulk carrier was underway in the Singapore Strait when five armed perpetrators were sighted in the engine room. The alarm was raised and upon hearing the alarm, the perpetrators confronted three crew in the engine room. The perpetrators managed to escape the vessel stealing engine and generator spares in a white small boat.
In light of the event, the master reported it to the Singapore VTIS and resumed her passage to Singapore.
-December 23 incidents-
Specifically, on December 23 two incidents were reported in the eastbound lane of the Singapore Strait on the same day. Of the two ships that were boarded, one was a bulk carrier and one was a tanker. In both incidents, the attackers had the crew tied up.
# First incident
On December 23, 2019, at about 0012 hours, a vessel named Bamzi was sailing in the Singapore Strait from Nipa anchorage, Indonesia to Qing Dao, China. That was when the Chief Engineer and the duty engineer saw three perpetrators in the engine room, one being armed with a knife. They immediately raised the alarm, but the perpetrators escaped. Later on, the men were found tied up by the perpetrators.
Following the investigation conducted onboard, there was no sign of the perpetrators being on the vessel. The crew was safe and unharmed, and the vessel continued its voyage.
On the same date, at about 0154 hours, a bulk carrier called Trust Star was transmitting the Singapore Strait when the crew spotted 6 perpetrators onboard the ship and raised the alarm. After te alarm, the perpetrators escaped; Yet, prior to their leave, they managed to confront and tie up two crew in the engine room, who later managed to untie themselves.
Then, the master informed the Singapore VTIS of the incident who then conducted a safety navigational broadcast.The RSN, Singapore Police Coast Guard and Indonesian authority were notified. The master deviated from her voyage and sailed to the port of Singapore as he was not certain on the actual number of perpetrators on board. The RSN and Singapore Police Coast Guard escorted the ship to the port of Singapore, where the Singapore Police Coast Guard boarded the ship and conducted a search on board. There was no further sighting of any perpetrator, the crew was safe and nothing was stolen.
Overall, these two incidents add up to the 27, reaching the 29 incidents in the Singapore Strait in 2019. From the 29, 15 occurred to ships while underway in the westbound lane of the Singapore Strait and 14 incidents in the eastbound lane of the Strait.
Recently, ReCAAP ISC had alerted that the situation in the Singapore Strait remains critical.
ReCAAP ISC advises all ships to exercise enhanced vigilance, adopt extra precautionary measures and report all incidents immediately to the nearest coastal State. The ReCAAP ISC recommends to the law enforcement agencies of the littoral States to step up surveillance, increase patrols and enhance cooperation and coordination among them in order to respond promptly to incidents.