Singapore

Singapore reiterates calls for Malaysia to withdraw vessels after collision

Singapore has reiterated its call for Malaysia to withdraw its vessels from Singapore's territorial waters off Tuas, following a collision between Greek carrier Pireas and a Malaysian government vessel, Polaris, on Saturday.

"The persistent presence of its vessels clearly poses a threat to safety of navigation in the area," said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in a statement yesterday. "As we have said previously, Malaysia will be responsible for any untoward situations on the ground that arise from continued deployment of its vessels into this area."

In a separate statement, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said Pireas was making a manoeuvre to leave the area when it collided with Polaris.

Polaris, a Malaysian Marine Department vessel, is one of the vessels that trespassed into Singapore's waters off Tuas last year. It was anchored when the accident occurred.

MPA added that Pireas was allowed to carry on to its next port of call - which was in Malaysia - as the accident was "not considered a very serious marine casualty incident" under the International Maritime Organisation Marine Casualty Investigation Code.

Pireas had been refuelling at Singapore's eastern bunkering anchorage. After doing so, it informed MPA that it was headed for Tanjung Pelepas in Johor, said the authority. At 1.55pm, Pireas entered Singapore's port limits off Tuas.

"It then slowed down, changed direction and collided with Polaris," MPA said.

The accident happened at around 2.30pm.

Upon establishing contact with Pireas, MPA's Port Operations Control Centre instructed the Greece-registered vessel to stay clear of the area, MPA said.

"At this point, Pireas reported that prior to contacting (the control centre), it had collided with Polaris and there was no damage to its vessel."

The crew members of both vessels were not injured.

Malaysia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Saturday night the Greek vessel and its crew had been detained.

As Saturday's accident occurred in Singapore's territorial waters, MPA launched investigations immediately, it said.

It has sent official notifications to the Marine Department Malaysia and Greece's Hellenic Bureau for Marine Casualties Investigation.

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