Crew and agency collaboration foil robbery attempt in Indonesia

RSN personnel on board RSS Independence on 16 March. They were monitoring a Liberian-flagged shipping vessel, Sam Jaguar, which reported that pirates had boarded the ship. Credit: Ministry of Defence Singapore (MINDEF)

A report from bulker Sam Jaguar said that five robbers had boarded the vessel and, after being spotted, two jumped overboard and three were apprehended by crew and locked in the engine room.

The report, issued at 5:11 am local time on 16 March 2020 to the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore’s Port Operations Control Centre (MPA’s POCC), caused the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) to begin monitoring the vessel, which was situated in the Singapore Strait east of Pulau Karimun Kecil, Indonesia.

The RSN’s Information Fusion Centre (IFC) shared information on the incident with the Indonesian authorities via the information-sharing portal IFC Real-time Information-sharing System. Furthermore, the MPA’s POCC shared the Sam Jaguar’s report with the Regional Co-operation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia’s (ReCAAP’s) Information Sharing Centre in Singapore.

The Indonesian Navy subsequently deployed two ships and one helicopter to board Sam Jaguar in Indonesian waters and arrested the three suspects. The bulker’s crew were unharmed.

“Today’s operational outcome is due to the good co-operation and quick response between Singaporean and Indonesian enforcement agencies. By working closely together with the shipping community and littoral states to monitor our waters and share information, we can quickly cue operational responses and keep up the pressure on sea robbers to bring sea robbery incidents down,” said Lieutenant Colonel Gary Ow, head of the IFC.

Indonesian media reports state that two of the arrested perpetrators were previously detained for another sea robbery in 2015.

The continuing target of ships under way in the Singapore Strait remains an area of concern, with four incidents in February, the same as January.

On 9 February, oil tanker Swarna Jayanti and bulk carrier New Spirit were targeted by robbers within an hour in the Singapore Strait.