Singapore’s Information Fusion Centre (IFC) recently issued an analysis focused on the the first quarter of 2020 concerning the increasing tensions and attacks taking place in the Singapore Strait, while provided recommendations for ships sailing in the area.
In fact, IFC recorded a total of one Sea Roobbery, four Sea Thefts, three Attempted Actions, and one Suspicious Approach during January to March 2020.
Specifically, six of the incidents occurred at north of Batam, while the remaining three incidents occurred at east of Pulau Karimun.
Incidents to the north of Batam:
The six incidents involved three tankers, two bulk carriers and a tug-and-barge. Five out of six incidents (83.3%) involving the tankers/bulk carriers occurred in hours of darkness whereas the incident (16.7%) on the tug-andbarge occurred in daylight hours.
Incidents to the east of Pulau Karimun:
The three incidents involved two bulk carriers and a tug-and-barge. The incidents involving the bulk carriers (66.7%) occurred in hours of darkness whereas the tug-and-barge incident (33.3%) occurred in daylight hours.
Considering the reported incidents, IFC recommends shipowners to:
- Maintain a proper and vigilant lookout, adhere to ship security standard operating procedures, and provide timely reporting of incidents to local authorities.
- Contact the local authorities and the IFC immediately, when they sight suspicious activities (including suspicious small boats approaching).
- Activate the ship’s Automatic Identification System (AIS) at all times.
- Participate in the IFC Voluntary Community Reporting (VCR) System and provide status update, while in transit, as much as possible.
- Use CCTV cameras for coverage of vulnerable areas (if available).
- Keep ship’s whistle, search lights and fog horn ready for immediate use.
- Secure or lift external ladders to prevent their use and to restrict external access to the bridge.
- Deploy Self-Protection Measures (SPM) e.g. Rig the water spray hoses and foam monitors in a fixed position. Evasive manoeuvres have also been proven to deter perpetrators in the areas of concern.
- Secure all doors and hatches preventing access to the accommodation and machinery spaces.
- Rig safety precautionary measures on the anchor cable hawse pipe while anchored.
While efforts and measures have been taken by the local authorities in the region to counter illegal activities, maintaining vigilance, adopting strong deterrence measures and timely reporting remain key to mitigating the risks of such incidents from proliferation.
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