Petty criminals still active in Singapore Strait

Asia regional monitoring centre ReCAAP ISC has issued an incident alert for the Singapore Strait. The events were all minor thefts, but involved boardings of vessels underway, causing ReCAAP to express concern over the increase in activity in the area.

The alert advises of three boardings of ships underway in the course of two hours in the eastbound lane in the Singapore Strait. The ship’s crew did not encounter the boarders in any of the incidents and no one was injured. The crews reported that nothing was found missing.

The first of the boardings took place around 11 p.m. local time on October 25th when the master of the bulk carrier Seajourney reported they had sighted an unauthorized person near the entrance to the engine room. A search of the ship did not locate the person. Early on October 26th a small boat was seen alongside bulk carrier A Racer. Five boarders were spotted aboard the ship, but left without stealing anything. Then a small boat was spotted alongside the bulk carrier El Matador. Three people were seen in the engine room. Because the captain could not confirm that they left the ship he diverted to the Batam anchorage. The Indonesian Navy searched the bunker, but did not find any unauthorized people aboard and nothing was reported stolen.

A similar series of boardings was reported between October 11th and 14th. Two bulk carriers and one chemical tanker reported seeing unidentified perpetrators aboard in the vicinity of the engine room.

ReCAAP ISC said that the six incidents in the course of two weeks, all in the eastbound lanes of the Singapore Strait, were concerning.

Of the 28 incidents reported in the Singapore Strait in 2020, 24 were in the eastbound lane.