Key facts:

  • 88.9% of the incidents occurred during period of darkness (PoD) where there was no/minimal illumination from the moon, and mostly between 2300hrs to 0500hrs
  • No attacks have been observed from the mornings – 0500hrs to early afternoons/evenings –2100hrs
  • 77.8% of the incidents took place in the PoD from Sundays to Mondays, whereby only two incidents (22.2%) took place under the week (Tuesday to Wednesday), with a bi-weekly reoccurrence since Oct 2020.
  • The incidents involved between one to five perpetrators, where the majority (66.7%) involved three or more perpetrators onboard the vessels (cannot discount possibility of more perpetrators not being detected or reported).
  • Eight of the nine incidents happened in series of two to three vessels being attacked in succession, within one PoD.
  • All incidents involved bulk carriers (77.8%) and tankers (22.2%) with low freeboards (between 4.5 to 6.5 meters) and slow speeds (between 7 to 12 knots). All targeted vessels were eastbound.

Perpetrators' moves:

It is highlighted that perpetrators target bulk carriers and tankers during PoD (2130hrs to 0500hrs during hours of darkness/ minimal illumination).

As the IFC has already mentioned, incidents typically involved three to five perpetrators that may be armed with long knives.

In most cases, the perpetrators were sighted in the engine rooms, and have been observed to target ship stores. However, in six of the nine cases, the ships reported that nothing had been stolen. Perpetrators were observed to be non-confrontational, evading soon after detection by crew.

The report highlights that

Trending of incidents suggest the same group of perpetrators might likely target a few vessels in the same night to maximize their gains in the future.


The IFC recommends the following measures to be implemented while transiting or anchored.

  1. Activate the ship’s Automatic Identification System (AIS) at all times.
  2. Timely reporting to the local authorities.
  3. Increase vigilance in watch-keeping and deploy additional lookouts. Be wary of suspicious small boats approaching. Take photo of the suspicious boat and send to IFC.
  4. Participate in the IFC Voluntary Community Reporting (VCR) System and provide status update, while in transit, as much as possible.
  5. Use CCTV cameras for coverage of vulnerable areas (if available).
  6. Keep ship’s whistle, search lights and foghorn ready for immediate use.
  7. Secure or lift external ladders to prevent their use and to restrict external access to the bridge.
  8. 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.
  9. Secure all doors and hatches preventing access to the accommodation and machinery spaces.
  10. Rig safety precautionary measures on the anchor cable hawse pipe while anchored.
  11. Ships should apply the appropriate security measures that are mentioned in the Tugs and Barge Guide, Guide for Tankers Operating in Asia, and/or Regional Guide to Counter Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships in Asia.
  12. Ship masters should also be aware and refer to the Maritime Security Charts Q6112 and Q6113, both published by the UK Hydrographic Office.


Concluding, you may learn more by clicking on the report herebelow:

Observations of sea theft and attempted actions incidents in eastbound lane of Singapore strait