Maritime security provider MAST has argued shipping companies to strengthen their approach to maritime security in South East Asia (SEA), in the wake of recent piracy attempts in the Singapore Straight.
Between 21 and 22 August, pirates targeted at least six vessels while underway in the eastbound lane of the traffic separation scheme (TSS) in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS).
The crews from the vessels were safe, while perpetrators armed with knives stole crew’s personal belongings from one ship.
MAST COO Gerry Northwood OBE said: “Shipping companies need to look at best management practices (BMP4) applied in the Indian Ocean and now adapt it to counter the threat posed by local criminals in SE Asia.”
“Commercial shipping is highly vulnerable to acts of piracy in the waters of SE Asia and the fact that piracy is still prevalent, as borne out by the events off Singapore this last weekend, means that shipping companies, Masters and crews cannot afford to relax their guard.”
BMP4 provides a framework for passive security measures, such as watch-keeping and enhanced vigilance, and hardening vessels transiting through the Indian Ocean.
According to security and anti-piracy groups, more than 70 ships have been attacked in the Malacca and Singapore straits this year. This is the highest number since 2008.
Following the recent attacks, Malaysia and Indonesia have now established a rapid reaction team to prevent piracy attacks on vessels in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.
Northwood added: “The rapid response teams are welcomed but the onus is still on the ships and crews to take necessary precautions and ensure security measures remain effective while in transit, at anchor, in port and during cargo operations.