Home News News Contact Us About Us Sign In

Special Report: Incidents Against Ships in Singapore Strait

November 23, 2020 - 11:15:57 UTC

Incidents Against Ships in the Singapore Strait

SINCE 2019 through 2020, there is a sharp increase in the number of incidents of robbery and theft against ships while underway in the Singapore Strait (SS), compared to the period of 2016-2018. In 2019, 31 incidents were reported, states ReCAAP ISC, and 33 incidents were reported in 2020 as of 20 Nov. The number of incidents during January-November 2020 accounts for an increase of 43% compared to January- November 2019 (23 incidents).

Although the majority of the 33 incidents reported during January-November 2020 were at a low level of severity [CAT 4 incidents where the perpetrators were not armed and the crew not harmed], the ReCAAP ISC is seriously concerned with the continued occurrence of incidents in the SS. In some incidents, perpetrators were persistent in committing crime by boarding two ships in a row within a short interval and in close proximity.

Without the arrest of perpetrators, incidents are likely to continue to occur. We remind that the incidents in SS decreased significantly from 99 incidents in 2015 to two incidents in 2016, thanks to the arrests of perpetrators by the authorities. This demonstrates that law enforcement is the best deterrence. In 2020, there was one report of the arrest of perpetrators in March but no further arrest was reported since then.

This Special Report is to alert the shipping industry and law enforcement agencies on the current situation of concern in the Singapore Strait and to provide an insight of the incidents, the modus operandi of the perpetrators and recommendations to the shipping industry and authorities of littoral States.

In 2020 (up to 22 Nov), one was CAT2 incident, four were CAT 3 incidents and 28 were CAT4 incidents. Despite an increase of incidents, they are at a low level of severity. Chart 1 shows the significance level of incidents in the Singapore Strait during 2007-2020 (up to 22 Nov).

Incidents Significance Level. Chart courtesy of ReCAAP ISC 

Insights of incidents in the Singapore Strait (2007-2019 and January-November 2020)

The 296 incidents which were reported during the period of 2007-2019 and January-November 2020 (up to 22 Nov) had the following features.

(1) Number of perpetrators
44% of incidents involved 4-6 men, 26% involved 1-3 men, 9% involved 7-9 men.

However, in 2020 (33 incidents up to 22 Nov), 20 incidents (61%) involved 1-3 men.

(2) Type of weapons carried by perpetrators 62% of incidents had no information, 29% reported knives/machetes and 3% reported guns and knives.

In 2020, 26 incidents (79%) had no information, five incidents reported knives/machetes and two incidents reported no weapon. 

Of the 31 incidents reported in 2019, 14 incidents occurred in the westbound lane of the TSS (between February and August of 2019) and 17 incidents in the eastbound lane (September-December of 2019). A cluster of 14 incidents occurred in the western sector of the SS to ships underway in the westbound lane of the TSS (red oval) as shown in Map 1. The other 17 incidents occurred to ships underway in the eastbound lane of the TSS [from northeast of Pulau Karimum Besar to northwest of Pulau Bintan] (green box) as shown in Map 1 (Below).

Location of Incidents 2019 Courtesy ReCAAP ISC


There was a shift in the location of the incidents in 2020. In 2020, 29 incidents were reported in the eastbound lane, one incident in the westbound lane, two incidents in the Precautionary Area and one incident just outside (south) of the TSS. A cluster of 26 incidents occurred in the eastern sector of the SS [north of Pulau Batam and northwest of Pulau Bintan] (green box) to ships underway in the eastbound lane of the TSS as shown in Map 2 (below).

Locations of Incidents 2020 courtesy of ReCAAP ISC

Further analysis is available. Read the Full Report HERE (PDF).

Source: ReCAAP ISC



Information, Security, Safety; Shared

Submitted by Team@oceanuslive.org

JMPC logo MPHRP   MOAS logo Sailors' Society

Send to Kindle
Print Friendly and PDF