On 21 Aug and 22 Aug 2015, six vessels while underway in the eastbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore reported to the Singapore Vessel Traffic Information System (VTIS) via VHF about five unauthorized boardings and an attempted one.
See map below on the approximate location of the incidents. The Singapore Port Operation Control Center (POCC) immediately notified the authorities of the littoral States and initiated navigational broadcast to warn mariners to maintain anti-piracy watch.Representation Image Credits: ukchamberofshipping.com
Description of the incidents is as follows:
21 August 2015
1. At about 0230 hrs, Advantage Summer was underway when five perpetrators attempted to board the vessel at the stern from a speedboat. The crew was alerted, the perpetrators aborted the attempt and fled. The master reported incident to the VTIS via VHF.
2. Slightly more than an hour later, at about 0340 hrs, Navig8 Stealth SV was underway when four perpetrators armed with knives were sighted in the engine
room. The master raised the alarm and the perpetrators fled. There was no loss of property and the crew was safe.
3. Less than an hour later, at about 0430 hrs, Maersk Lebu was underway when four perpetrators were again sighted in the engine room. The master raised the alarm and the perpetrators escaped in a waiting small boat. There was no loss of property and the crew was safe.
4. At about 2329 hrs, Peace Bright was underway when four perpetrators were sighted onboard the vessel. The alarm was raised and the perpetrators escaped in a waiting boat. There was no loss of property and the crew was safe.
22 August 2015
5. At about 0525 hrs, Atout was underway when the crew sighted four perpetrators without weapons onboard the vessel. The alarm was raised and they escaped. There was no loss of property and the crew was safe.
6. About an hour later, Elbtank Denmark was underway when the crew sighted four perpetrators armed with knives onboard the vessel. The perpetrators stole the
crew’s personal effects and escaped in a small boat. The crew was safe.
Name and Type of Ship :
Advantage Summer / Tanker
Navig8 Stealth SV / Tanker
Maersk Lebu / Container ship
Peace Bright /Bulk carrier
Atout /Container ship
Elbtank Denmark / Tanker
Date/Local time of Incident:
21 Aug 15 at 0230 hrs
21 Aug 15 at 0340 hrs
21 Aug 15 at 0430 hrs
21 Aug 15 at 2329 hrs
22 Aug 15 at 0525 hrs
22 Aug 15 at 0535 hrs
Location of incident :
01° 10.60’ N, 103° 26.70’ E
01° 07.20’ N, 103° 29.80’ E
01° 10.08’ N, 103° 30.17’ E
01° 04.07’ N, 103° 41.58’ E
01° 07.27’ N, 103° 31.68’ E
01° 10.40’ N, 103° 49.80’ E
Reported by ReCAAP Focal Point (Singapore)
Considering the close interval of time and proximity of these incidents, the perpetrators could possibly be from the same group. From the description of the incidents, the perpetrators operated in about 4-5 persons, armed with knives and were opportunistic in nature without targeting specific vessels. They aborted boarding when crew was alerted, and escaped empty-handed when the alarm was raised without harming the crew. Of concern was their persistence in ‘hovering’ in the vicinity seeking out their next target.
The ReCAAP ISC commends the masters of the six vessels for reporting to the Singapore VTIS who issued the navigational broadcast to mariners, and notified the enforcement agencies. However, it is collective effort by all stakeholders at sea and on land to do their part towards eradicating such incidents at sea; including timely deployment of patrol vessels by the relevant littoral State(s) and increase its surveillance in the vicinity. From the incidents, enhanced vigilance, early detection of suspicious perpetrators and activation of the alarm immediately are key actions towards preventing boarding.
The ReCAAP ISC strongly recommends all vessels operating in this area to exercise enhanced vigilance and take extra precautionary measures while underway, and the relevant enforcement agencies to step up surveillance and patrols.