The Malaysian vessel shown in a video aired on Thursday (6 December) during Singapore Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan’s media briefing has been anchored in the Republic’s territorial waters and is used for marking territory.
Khaw’s media briefing explained Singapore’s stance in the ongoing Johor Straits port limits dispute with Malaysia, and he also announced the extension of Singapore’s port limits off Tuas with effect from Thursday in response to Malaysia’s recent maritime provocations.
During the briefing, he showed reporters a video on a Malaysian buoy-laying vessel, the Jabatan Laut Polaris. Jabatan Laut refers to the Malaysia Marine Department, and such vessels are usually deployed to mark territory or indicate safety hazards.
“This particular Malaysian vessel has been there since 3 December, I think, and even as we speak, continues to be there,” Khaw said.
As of Friday morning, the Jabatan Laut Polaris continued to be in Singapore waters off Tuas, according to MarineTraffic, a global ship tracking site. The website noted that the vessel was built in 2017 and measures 84m by 16m.
According to a 2017 Bernama news agency article posted on the Malaysia Marine Department website, the Polaris can also be used to tow ships and fight marine fires. Furthermore, it can be used for training, being equipped with a classroom, meeting room, gym and bunks.
Khaw said there have been 14 intrusions into Singapore territorial waters off Tuas in the past two weeks, after Malaysia extended its Johor Bahru port limits in October.
Singapore has repeatedly maintained that Malaysia’s extension of Johor Bahru port limits encroaches into its territory and violates its sovereignty.