Increase in incidents in Traffic Separation Scheme

14 Jan 2022 / Singapore Strait, Singapore

IFC [Singapore’s Information Fusion Centre] observed an increase in incidents involving tugs and barges in the western end of TSS from the month of November 2021 till now.

Three incidents took place in the westbound lane of TSS, while another 2 took place in the Phillip channel along eastbound lane of TSS.

In most cases, the perpetrators are unlikely to enter any confrontation with the ship crew. The perpetrators involved are usually up to 4 pax and use small boats to board the barges. They are usually unarmed, opportunistic in nature and do not target any specific type of cargo.

Please advise your ship masters to watch out for these types of wooden boats that are operating in the vicinity of western end of TSS. The photos below show the boats used by the perpetrators in the incidents.


1. The IFC recommends the following measures to be implemented while transiting or anchored:
a. Activate the ship’s Automatic Identification System (AIS) at all times.
b. Timely reporting to the local authorities so that enforcement agencies can be cued for tactical response.
c. Increase vigilance in watch-keeping and deploy additional lookouts. Be wary of suspicious small boats approaching. Take photo of the suspicious boat and send to IFC.
d. Participate in the IFC Voluntary Community Reporting (VCR) System and provide status update, while in transit, as much as possible.
e. Use CCTV cameras for coverage of vulnerable areas (if available).
f. Keep ship’s whistle, search lights and fog horn ready for immediate use.
g. Secure or lift external ladders to prevent their use and to restrict external access to the bridge.
h. Deploy Self-Protection Measures (SPM) e.g. Rig the water spray hoses and foam monitors in a fixed position. Evasive manoeuvres have also been proven to deter perpetrators in the areas of concern.
i. Secure all doors and hatches preventing access to the accommodation and machinery spaces.
j. Rig safety precautionary measures on the anchor cable hawse pipe while anchored.

2. Ships should apply the appropriate security measures that are mentioned in the Tugs and Barge Guide, Guide for Tankers Operating in Asia, and/or Regional Guide to Counter Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships in Asia.

3. Ship masters should also be aware and refer to the Maritime Security Charts Q6112 and Q6113, both published by the UK Hydrographic Office.

(For information about operations in Singapore, contact GAC Singapore at [email protected])

Source: Information Fusion Centre Shipping Advisory 1/22 dated 10 January 2022

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