Bulker master hurt in robbery attempt off Singapore

Bulker master hurt in robbery attempt off Singapore

October 30, 2023


The master of a bulk carrier was injured during an attempted sea robbery while the ship was sailing towards Singapore.

The International Maritime Bureau’s live piracy reporting centre stated that the incident took place around 4.50 pm (UK time) on 22 October, but was not reported until 27 October.

According to the report, four or five men armed with a gun and knives boarded the ship and took the third engineer hostage and tied him up. The duty oiler noticed the suspects and raised the alarm, resulting in the robbers escaping with stolen spare parts from the ship.

Further details, such as the ship name and number of crewmen on board, were not released. Vessel-tracking data shows that seven Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carriers arrived in Singapore on 27 October.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said on 29 October that the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) was informed about the robbery attempt at 4:30 a.m. local time on 27 October.

The authority added that the robbery attempt occurred in the Straits of Malacca in the early hours of 27 October when the Marshall Islands-flagged ship was still outside Singapore waters.

map- Capture

“The shipmaster who was hurt in the incident is reported to be in stable condition and has been conveyed ashore to seek medical treatment,” the authority said.

The MPA said, “MRCC had directed the vessel to anchor off the western part of Singapore to facilitate a search by the Police Coast Guard. The search has been completed onboard and nothing was reported missing.”

In July, Information Fusion Centre (IFC), a regional maritime security centre, urged ship masters to look out for wooden boats that are allegedly used by pirates and sea robbers targeting ships in the Singapore Strait. These boats typically feature a flat-bottomed hull with a narrow open deck.

IFC’s mid-year report stated that there were 37 incidents in the Singapore Strait in the first half of 2023, up from 27 the previous year, and 20 in 2021.

“This can be attributed to slow regional economic recovery, poor fishing yields impacting livelihood of fishermen and increased financial obligations during festive periods. The majority of the incidents occurred in the Phillip Channel,” IFC said.

Martina Li
Asia Correspondent

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