Bilateral disputes over territorial waters

1979

Malaysia publishes a map depicting the limits of the territorial waters it claims, including in the areas in the eastern and western approaches to Singapore. This is the same map Malaysia used when claiming Pedra Branca as its own.

1980

Singapore lodges a diplomatic protest with Malaysia over its 1979 map, asserting that the boundary lines in the map, with respect to the areas in the eastern and western approaches to Singapore, are unacceptable to Singapore, and that Pedra Branca belongs to Singapore.

1987

Malaysia publishes its Johor Baru port limits, which track the territorial sea limits claimed in its 1979 map.

1995

Singapore and Malaysia conclude an agreement to delimit the ter-ritorial waters boundary in accordance with the Straits Settlements and Johore Territorial Waters Agreement 1927.

1997

Singapore's port limits to the west of Raffles Lighthouse are extended slightly for better regulation of shipping traffic in the vicinity.

1999

Malaysia publishes its amended Johor Baru port limits, which still track the territorial sea limits claimed in its 1979 map.

 
 
 
 
 

2018

Oct 25: Malaysia issues a government gazette extending the Johor Baru port limits, which encroach into Singapore's territorial waters off Tuas.

The altered port limits extend significantly eastward beyond the territorial sea claim in the area made in Malaysia's 1979 map.

Nov 5: Singapore issues a Third Person Note (TPN) asking Malaysia to amend the gazette to reflect Singapore's sovereignty over these waters. Nov 9: Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan raises the issue with his counterpart Anthony Loke.

Nov 11: A port circular of the new Johor Baru port limits is published by the Marine Department Malaysia.

Nov 22: A notice to mariners is published by the Marine Department Malaysia.

Nov 29: Singapore issues a second TPN, protesting against Malay-sia's port circular and notice to mariners. Nov 30: Singapore issues a circular to ship masters and owners to disregard the Malaysian notices. Dec 4: Singapore issues a statement on the dispute and says it will not hesitate to take action against intrusions in its waters.

Dec 5: Malaysia issues a statement and replies to the first TPN, disagreeing that the altered port limits encroach on Singapore's waters. Dec 6: Singapore extends its port limits off Tuas.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 07, 2018, with the headline 'Bilateral disputes over territorial waters'. Print Edition | Subscribe