Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong asked the Minister for Defence whether there are discussions with Indonesia on conducting more joint patrols with Indonesia in view of the increase of piracy or armed sea robbery incidents on commercial vessels in the eastbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) in the first half of 2021, such as in waters near Tanjung Pergam of Bintan Island.
Dr Ng Eng Hen: There were 20 sea robbery incidents near to Singapore in 2021. None of these reported incidents occurred within or originated from Singapore territorial waters. The majority of these robberies continue to involve petty theft for items like engine parts and ship stores.
As these incidents took place outside our territorial waters, Singapore agencies do not have the authority to directly intervene or apprehend these perpetrators. While we do not conduct joint patrols with Indonesia, Singapore works with Indonesia to deal with transnational maritime piracy, robbery and other security threats including through coordinated patrols in our respective territorial waters. There are also regular exchanges and platforms to strengthen coordination and operational responses.
Additionally, the RSN’s Information Fusion Centre (IFC) continues to share information of hotspots and locations with higher concentrations of vessels with authorities of neighbouring countries, to aid them in making decisions on the appropriate actions against possible perpetrators, including stepping up of patrols. The IFC and the Maritime Port Authority have also increased engagement of the shipping community on potential sea robbery hotspots and protective security measures they can undertake when passing by hotspots.
We will continue to work with maritime agencies and the neighbouring littoral states to collectively address maritime incidents and threats.
Ministry of Defence
3 August 2021