RSN vessel disrupts sea robbery of tugboat in Singapore Strait

SINGAPORE - The sight of a warship from the Republic of Singapore Navy's (RSN's) Maritime Security Task Force (MSTF) sent sea robbers who had boarded a tugboat in the Singapore Strait fleeing on Tuesday.

The Ministry of Defence said in a statement that the RSN worked closely with the Indonesian Navy (TNI AL), to apprehend the robbers.

The Malaysian-flagged tugboat Permata 1 was then escorted safely to Singapore waters by a Fearless-class patrol vessel from the RSN, RSS Resilience.

The alarm was raised at 9.07am, when the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore's Port Operations Control Centre received a report from the barge, Permata 1, that robbers were boarding their vessel.

The RSN's MSTF, which protects the Republic's waters, immediately deployed RSS Resilience which arrived at the vicinity of the incident at 9.21am.

The robbers fled towards Indonesian waters at the sight of the Singapore warship.

The RSN's Information Fusion Centre (IFC) shared information on the incident and the perpetrators with the Indonesian Navy's Western Fleet Sea Security Group, and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, which then deployed their naval assets to assist in the search for the robbers.

Three robbers were apprehended and the stolen cargo was recovered.

The RSS Resilience accompanied Permata 1 safely to Singapore waters where the Police Coast Guard boarded the tugboat for investigation.

All crew on board the tugboat were unharmed, Mindef said.

Speaking about the incident, Rear-Admiral Frederick Chew, Commander of the MSTF, said, "I am heartened to see the good cooperation between Singaporean, Indonesian and Malaysian enforcement agencies in disrupting the sea robbery attempt on Permata 1."

He added: "In particular, the close cooperation between the RSN and TNI AL (Indonesian navy) is a reflection of the strong ties between our navies.

"We need to continue working closely together to keep up the pressure on sea robbers and to bring sea robbery incidents down."