Spate of robbery attempts in Singapore Straits

Incident Alert SOMS 22 Aug 15

ReCAAP took the unusual step of issuing a report on a spate of attempted armed robberies over the weekend. 

The incidents took place on August 21st and 22nd in the eastbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS) and occurred over a 27 hour period. Given the close proximity and timings of the incidents, ReCAAP believes that the same group of four to five men armed with knives may well have been responsible. The attacks would appear to have been opportunist in nature, with no real targets selected. The ships involved include three tankers, two container ships and a bulk carrier and it would appear that only one of the attacks resulted in anything being stolen.

Armed robberies at sea and petty theft at anchor are the most prevalent maritime crimes in Southeast Asia, although the hijacking of small coastal tankers for their fuel oil cargoes remains a significant issue.

Given the incidents reported here all occurred during the hours of darkness, Neptune recommends robust watch procedures (if not adoption of BMP 4) are in place on ships transiting the SOMS and that deck lights are used wherever possible to deter possible boardings.