Sea robbery attempt in Singapore Strait foiled by Singapore and Indonesian navies

Republic of Singapore Navy personnel on board RSS Independence on March 16 monitoring a Liberian-flagged shipping vessel, Sam Jaguar, which reported that pirates had boarded the ship. PHOTO: MINDEF

SINGAPORE - A daring robbery attempt by three pirates in the Singapore Strait on Monday (March 16) morning was foiled by the close cooperation between the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and the Indonesian navy (TNI-AL).

The Maritime Port and Authority of Singapore's (MPA) Port Operations Command Centre received a report from a Liberian-flagged shipping vessel Sam Jaguar at 5.11am that pirates had boarded the ship, and had been locked in the engine room by the ship's crew.

The RSN's Maritime Security Task Force immediately began to monitor the vessel closely and dispatched its littoral mission vessel RSS Independence and police coast guard craft to the location.

At the same time, the RSN's Information Fusion Centre shared real-time information on the incident with Indonesian authorities.

This information helped TNI-AL to eventually apprehend the pirates in Indonesian waters after deploying two ships and a helicopter to hail and board Sam Jaguar.

Sam Jaguar's crew were safe and unharmed.

"Today's operational outcome is due to the good cooperation and quick response between Singaporean and Indonesian enforcement agencies," said Information Fusion Centre head Lieutenant-Colonel Gary Ow.

"By working closely together with the shipping community and littoral states to monitor our waters and share information, we can quickly cue operational responses and keep up the pressure on sea robbers to bring sea robbery incidents down."

The Republic of Singapore Navy's littoral mission vessel, RSS Independence (foreground, left), and Police Coast Guard vessel (foreground, right) were dispatched to monitor Liberian-flagged bulk carrier Sam Jaguar (background) in the waters east of Pulau Karimun Kecil, Indonesia, on March 16, 2020, after Sam Jaguar was boarded by three armed pirates. PHOTO: MINDEF

Eight piracy attempts in the Singapore Strait have been reported this year as of February.

There was a marked uptick last year in the number of such incidents in the Singapore Strait, with 31 attempts reported.

In 2018, there were just eight cases in both the Singapore Strait and the Strait of Malacca, nine in 2017 and two in 2016.

According to the MPA, the maritime sector contributes about 7 per cent of Singapore's gross domestic product, with more than 130,000 ships calling here every year.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.