Singapore Plans to Restructure MSTF To Tackle Piracy in Strait

February 03: The Singapore Minister of Defence was asked:

(a) what new tactics have been designed by those responsible for the rise in actual and attempted piracy and robbery cases in the Singapore Strait and its surrounding waters;
“(b) what measures can be deployed to deter and eliminate such threats; and
“(c) how will the revised Standard Operating Procedures signed at the 14th Malacca Straits Patrol Joint Coordinating Committee Meeting address the rise in the number of piracy and robbery cases in the straits of Malacca and Singapore.

– Mr Christopher de Souza

To which he replied:

The number of piracy and sea robbery incidents occurring in the Singapore Strait fluctuates considerably from year to year. For example in years, 2014, 2015 and 2019, there were 48, 104 and 31 such incidents. But in the remaining years over the last decade, the average was around 12. It is therefore difficult to conclude if there will be a persistent increase from the 2019 figures alone, although our maritime agencies are monitoring this closely. What we have determined is that the tactics and modus operandi of the perpetrators remain the same, consisting of petty crime involving the theft of crew belongings, engine parts, or scrap metal. All perpetrators are based and operate outside Singapore’s territorial waters, and therefore we are working with our neighbours to share information and collect intelligence, so that Singapore can be better prepared to meet such threats.

[…] Nevertheless, we agree with Members that additional measures are useful to prevent the further rise in incidence of sea robbery and piracy. We want to step up deeper sharing in information and intelligence with maritime and enforcement agencies within Malaysia and Indonesia. The Maritime Security Task Force (MSTF) is also making plans to restructure itself, including beefing up its assets to deal with such incidents at sea. That review is expected to be complete in the next few months.

– Minister for Defence, Dr Ng Eng Hen

Read More / Source: Ministry of Defence Singapore

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