Through close collaboration between Singaporean and Indonesian authorities, the Indonesian Navy apprehended three perpetrators who had boarded a Liberian-flagged bulk carrier Sam Jaguar in the Singapore Strait, in the waters east of Pulau Karimun Kecil, Indonesia. The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN)’s Maritime Security Task Force (MSTF) and Information Fusion Centre (IFC) played a key role in disrupting the sea robbery. At 5.11am on 16 March 2020, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore’s Port Operations Control Centre (POCC) received a report from Sam Jaguar that robbers had boarded their ship, and were locked in in the engine room by the ship crew.
The RSN’s MSTF commenced close monitoring of the vessel, and despatched the Littoral Mission Vessel RSS Independence and Police Coast Guard craft towards the location of the incident, to be prepared to respond if the vessel entered Singapore territorial waters. Simultaneously, the RSN’s Information Fusion Centre (IFC) shared information on the incident and perpetrators with the Indonesian authorities via the information-sharing portal IFC Real-time Information-sharing System (IRIS), and MPA’s POCC shared the report with the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against ships in Asia (ReCAAP)’s Information Sharing Centre in Singapore.
The Indonesian Navy subsequently deployed KRI Siwar (646) and KRI Halasan (630) Sampari-class fast missile oat with one helicopter to hail and board Sam Jaguar in Indonesian Territorial Waters. Acting on the information shared by the Information Fusion Centre (IFC), the Indonesian Navy successfully apprehended three perpetrators. The crew on board the bulk carrier were safe and unharmed. Indonesian media reports state that two of the arrested perpetrators were previously detained for another sea robbery in 2015.
The rise in sea robberies in the Singapore Strait has caused concern, with eight piracy attempts reported this year as of last month. Last year saw a marked uptick in the number of incidents in the strait, with 31 attempts reported. There were seven reported incidents in 2018, eight in 2017, and two in 2016. In January, the navies of Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand met in Singapore to discuss ways to tackle sea robbery, including quarterly exercises to improve information sharing.