Three incidents of armed robbery were reported on board ships while underway in the eastbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) in the Singapore Strait, the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against ships in Asia (ReCAAP) said in its latest report.
The three incidents occurred in close proximity to each other in Tanjung Pergam, Pulau Bintan, Indonesia. Two incidents occurred within an interval of four hours on Thursday, April 8, while the third incident took place on Sunday, April 11.
The first incident on April 8 occurred at 01:47 local time when the bulk carrier Trina Oldendorff (pictured) was underway about 6.8 nautical miles northwest of Tanjung Pergam.
Four unauthorised persons armed with knives were sighted in the engine room. One perpetrator confronted the engine room crew and struck him on his head when he attempted to shout assistance.
Thereafter, perpetrators escaped from the ship.
The alarm was raised and crew mustered. A search on board the ship was conducted with no further sighting of the perpetrators.
The master declared nothing was stolen, and the was safe and accounted for. The master did not report the incident immediately the coastal state continued with the voyage.
The master reported the incident to Singapore Port Operation Control Centre (POCC) only on Friday, April 9. A safety navigational broadcast was initiated.
The Republic Singapore Navy’s (RSN) Maritime Security Task Force (MSTF) and Singapore Police Coast Guard were informed, the Malaysian and Indonesian authorities were notified.
The second incident on April 8 occurred at about 05:50, when the petroleum/chemical tanker Harrisburg was underway at about 6.3 nautical miles northwest of the same area in Tanjung Pergam.
Two unauthorised persons boarded the ship. The alarm was raised and crew mustered.
A search on board the ship was conducted with no further sighting of the perpetrators. Nothing was stolen and the crew was safe.
The last incident occurred at 01:15 on April 11, when the bulk carrier Pantazis L was underway at about 7.6 nautical miles northwest of Tanjung Pergam.
Four unauthorised persons were sighted in the engine room. The alarm was raised and crew mustered, and a search on board the ship was conducted.
At 02:55, the master updated Singapore Vessel Traffic Information System (VTIS) that the search on board was completed with further sighting of the perpetrators. The master reported that some engine spares stolen. All crewmembers were and accounted for.
No assistance was required and the ship continued with its voyage.
A safety navigational broadcast was initiated. The RSN’s MSTF and Singapore Police Coast Guard were informed, and the Malaysian and Indonesian authorities were notified.
A total of 10 incidents were reported during January-April 2021, comprising nine incidents in the eastbound lane TSS and one incident in the westbound lane. In 2020, a total of 34 incidents were reported in the Singapore Strait.
Although there was an arrest of five perpetrators in the by the Indonesian Navy on February 21, incidents have continued to occur in the area. The ReCAAP said this suggests that there are other criminal groups operating in the Singapore Strait.
The ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre (ISC) therefore urges the littoral states to increase patrols and enforcement in their respective waters as well as strengthen coordination among the littoral states, including information sharing on the latest situation, and the criminal groups involved, in order to make more arrests of the perpetrators.
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