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Tanker in Singapore Strait boarded by pirates on Christmas Day, 30 incidents recorded so far in 2019

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times) -- A tanker in the Singapore Strait was boarded by pirates on Wednesday (Dec 25), just two days after a couple of piracy attempts in the strait were thwarted.
This brings the total number of recorded piracy incidents so far this year in the Singapore Strait to 30, said the Regional Cooperation

Container ships in the south of Singapore. (File photo)

Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) Information Sharing Centre (ReCAAP).
Of these, 15 incidents involved ships in the westbound lane of the Singapore Strait and 15 in the eastbound lane of the strait.
In 2018, eight incidents - comprising piracy attempts and actual piracy attacks - were recorded in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, but the figure fell sharply from 104 recorded in 2015.
There were only two incidents were recorded in 2016 and nine incidents in 2017.
In the latest incident on Wednesday, six unarmed pirates were seen in the engine room of the tanker bound for the port of Singapore at 12.28am.
The chief engineer saw the pirates and alerted the ship master. The ship’s alarm system was later activated.
The six pirates escaped empty-handed from the stern of the ship using a small boat.
The ship master reported the incident through the Singapore Vessel Traffic Information System, which initiated a safety navigational broadcast.
The Indonesian authorities, Singapore Navy and Police Coast Guard were notified of the incident. Once the ship arrived in Singapore, the Police Coast Guard boarded the vessel.
The ReCAAP centreĀ  said on Wednesday night that there was no confrontation between the perpetrators and the crew of the ship.
The ReCAAP centre issued four incident alerts relating to piracy attempts in the strait, including two on Monday, when pirates tied up crew members of a bulk carrier and tanker, and attempted to rob the ships.
The attempts were thwarted and the pirates left empty-handed when the alarm was sounded in both instances.
In its Wednesday statement, the ReCAAP centre expressed concern over the increasing number of piracy attempts in the Singapore Strait.
“Since the perpetrators of these incidents were not arrested, there is a possibility of further incidents in the Singapore Strait,” it said.
“All ships are strongly advised to exercise utmost vigilance, adopt extra precautionary measures and report all incidents immediately to the nearest littoral state.”
The Singapore-based centre advised law enforcement agencies of the coastal states to further step up surveillance, increase patrols and enhance coordination among them in order to respond to incidents promptly.

(Latest Update December 27, 2019

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