M’sian vessels repeatedly intruded into S’pore territorial waters after disputed extension of JB port limits

The Navy and Coast Guard are safeguarding our territorial waters.

Sulaiman Daud | December 4, 2018 @ 06:01 pm


Singapore has lodged a “strong protest” with the Malaysian government over the recent official notices that attempt to extend the port limits of Johor Bahru.

These new limits will encroach into Singapore Territorial Waters (STW) off Tuas.

On Nov. 30, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore issued a Port Marine Circular instructing ship masters and owners of vessels to disregard the following Malaysian government communications:

  • Federal Government Gazette P.U. (B) 587 “Declaration of Alteration of Port Limits for Johore Bahru Port”
  • Port Circular No. 88/2018
  • Notice to Mariners No. 164/2018

These notices impinge upon Singapore’s sovereignty.

MOT statement

On Dec. 4, the Ministry of Transport (MOT) issued a statement to the media addressing the claim.

Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan spoke to reporters at Seletar Airport.

In addition to the protest, Singapore asked Malaysia to amend these notices to reflect Singapore’s sovereignty over the waters in question, and that Malaysia refrain from taking any further unilateral action.

Malaysian vessels repeatedly intruded in Singapore waters

MOT stated that over the past two weeks, Malaysian vessels from the Maritime Enforcement Agency and Marine Department Malaysia have “repeatedly” intruded in STW off Tuas.

As this is inconsistent with international law, Singapore has protested these unauthorised movements and purported assertions of “sovereignty” by these vessels.

Safety considerations

MOT stated that both the extension of port limits and intrusions into STW are “serious” violations of Singapore’s sovereignty and international law.

In addition, they cause confusion for international shipping, and increase risks to navigation and safety for all.

MOT also confirmed that the Republic of Singapore Navy and Police Coast Guard are safeguarding the sovereignty of STW, and are enforcing the security of these waters on a 24/7 basis.

Said MOT:

“Singapore stands ready to engage with Malaysia to resolve these matters amicably, in accordance with international law.”

Top image by Joshua Lee

About Sulaiman Daud

Sulaiman believes that we can be heroes, if just for one day. His favourite Doctor is Peter Capaldi's Twelve and his favourite person is Jürgen Klopp. He also writes about film and pop-culture, which you are very welcome to read here.

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