Malaysian government ships encroaching on Singapore waters for past 2 weeks: MOT

Woodlands Checkpoint Causeway. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)
Woodlands Checkpoint Causeway. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

Ships from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and the Marine Department Malaysia have repeatedly intruded into Singapore’s territorial waters off Tuas over the past two weeks, said Singapore’s Ministry of Transport (MOT) on Tuesday (4 December).

The intrusions come in the wake of a purported extension of the Johor Bahru port limits via a Malaysian government gazette dated 25 October, a port circular dated 11 November and a notice to mariners dated 22 November.

In a media statement, MOT said Singapore has lodged a “strong protest” with the Malaysian government over the purported extension of port limits encroaching into Singapore waters.

The ministry said the move along with repeated intrusions into Singapore waters by Malaysian government ships are “a serious violation of Singapore’s sovereignty and international law”.

“These actions are unconducive to good bilateral relations, cause confusion for the international shipping community, and lead to increased navigational and safety risks for all parties,” it added.

“The Republic of Singapore Navy and Police Coast Guard are safeguarding the sovereignty of Singapore territorial waters and enforcing the security of these waters on a 24/7 basis,” MOT said in its statement.

“Singapore will not hesitate to take firm action against intrusions and unauthorised activities in our waters,” the ministry added.

Singapore has requested that Malaysia amend its gazette Declaration of Alteration of Port Limits for Johore Bahru Port, Port Circular No. 88/2018 and Notice to Mariners No. 164/2018.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore has issued a Port Marine Circular on 30 November instructing ship masters and owners to disregard Malaysia’s gazette, port circular and notice to mariners, which impinge on Singapore’s sovereignty.

MOT said Singapore stands ready to engage with Malaysia to resolve the matters amicably, in accordance with international law.

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