MFA protests against detention of boat captain by Indonesia within Singapore’s territorial waters

Photo of Pedra Branca: Singapore Memorial

The Singapore government on Wednesday (15 March) issued a strong protest against the detention of a vessel, its Singaporean passengers and crew by Indonesian authorities within the city-state’s territorial waters off Pedra Branca.

The Seven Seas Conqueress, its crew, and passengers, were detained by the Indonesian authorities off the island on 20 August last year.  Nine Singaporean passengers were released on 1 September but Singaporean captain Ricky Tan Poh Hui and the vessel remain in Indonesian custody.

“Singapore has strongly protested the Indonesian Government’s actions.  We have emphasised that there is no basis for Indonesia’s detention of the vessel, its crew and passengers, nor for the continued detention of and purported charges brought against Mr Tan in the Tanjung Pinang District Court,” a spokesman at Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a statement.

Singapore officials have communicated repeatedly with the relevant Indonesian authorities to seek the immediate release of Tan and the vessel, as well as the termination of any purported investigations against him, the spokesman added.

After being informed on 21 August 2016 of Tan’s detention, MFA had sought consular access to him.  After repeated requests, the Indonesian authorities granted Singapore consular officials access to Tan on 24 January this year.

“MFA will persist in our efforts to secure the immediate release of Mr Tan and the vessel. We will continue to provide all necessary assistance to Mr Tan and his next-of-kin in the interim,” the spokesman said.