New police patrol boats for Marina Reservoir to boost fight against maritime crime, terrorism

Two new Police Coast Guard patrol boats for the Marina Reservoir area were commissioned at the Marina Barrage on Sept 27, 2016.
Two new Police Coast Guard patrol boats for the Marina Reservoir area were commissioned at the Marina Barrage on Sept 27, 2016.ST PHOTO: SEOW BEI YI

SINGAPORE - Two new patrol boats for the Marina Reservoir area will soon ply the waters when there are major events nearby.

This is part of ongoing efforts to enhance the Police Coast Guard's maritime crime-fighting and counter-terrorism capabilities, said the Singapore Police Force on Tuesday (Sept 27).

The force commissioned the new boats, Archerfish and Tigerfish, on the same day. This means the vessels are now readily deployable. They replace older patrol boats which will be decommissioned.

The boats will support the police's overall security operations when major events are staged at the Marina Reservoir. The number of officers and frequency of patrols will be decided on an ad-hoc basis, depending on the event.

With the two new patrol boats, the coast guard may be deployed nearer to the shoreline and to patrol the waterways around the Parliament House area.

The Police Coast Guard carries out security operations along the Singapore River, the Kallang Basin and at the Marina Reservoir during Parliament sittings as well as major events such as the National Day Parade and Formula 1 Grand Prix.

Besides being designed for extended hours of operation and for boarding and search operations in the reservoir and rivers, the new boats are able to pursue and engage intruding crafts in the reservoir.

"They ensure that the Police Coast Guard remains an effective deterrent force to protect the Marina Reservoir and its associated rivers from potential crime and sea-borne terror attacks," added the police.

Mr Desmond Lee, Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs, noted at the commissioning and naming ceremony at the Marina Barrage that "security threats continue to develop around the world and within our region".

The series of attacks in France, Germany, Turkey and Singapore's neighbours have shown the damage which a small group of determined terrorists can cause, he added.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terrorist terrorist group has also published a newsletter in Bahasa Indonesia, calling on its fighters in South-east Asia to carry out more attacks in the region, he said.

He also highlighted that "the maritime domain is vulnerable to the threat of terrorism" and that the coast guard protects and polices Singapore's waters based on a strategy of deterrence, detection and response.

He emphasised that boats are the Police Coast Guard's "key response to threats that are detected through our surveillance".

To detect threats, additional coastal surveillance cameras will be installed progressively from 2017 and other technologies in the pipeline include panoramic electro-optics sensors and unmanned surface vessels.

"Other than terrorists infiltrating from beyond our borders, the Police Coast Guard is also concerned that terrorist attacks could come from within. Radicalised persons could exploit the reservoir to mount attacks," said Mr Lee.

A rocket attack plot targeting Marina Bay in Singapore came to light after arrests made in August in Indonesia.

On Monday (Sept 26), Indonesia's counter-terrorism chief Suhardi Alius said suspects involved in the foiled plot had planned to launch the strike from a hill in Batam.

The launch site is located about 17km from Singapore's shoreline and just over 18km from the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort.

Terrorists who carried out the 2008 Mumbai attacks that left 166 dead, including one Singaporean, did so via the sea as well.