A barge under tow in the Singapore Strait has been boarded by thieves.

The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery in Asia (ReCAAP) said incident happened on May 18.

It took place in the westbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS), 3.3 nautical miles (nm) southeast of Tanjung Piai in Malaysia.

The Master of the tug boat with the barge under tow radioed the Singapore Vessel Traffic Information System (VTIS) to say six perpetrators had boarded the barge from a small boat.

The intruders stole some tools and then left.

ReCAAP recorded four incidents of vessels being boarded by intruders in the western sector of Singapore Strait, close to Tanjung Piai, in the first four months of 2019.

Three of the cases involved barges under tow and one a dredger.

In two cases thieves escaped with scrap metal. In the other two cases nothing was stolen.

All ships, particularly tug boats, should maintain a high level of vigilance when entering the Singapore Strait Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS).

If suspicious boats attempt to come alongside an alarm should be raised and the maritime authorities alerted.

Source: Gray Page