The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has responded to China’s decision to raise the security level for its vessels heading through the Strait of Malacca, asserting that no information has been received about an immediate threat.
According to Bloomberg, a notice was served by China’s transport ministry on July 2, advising Chinese-flagged vessels to adopt heightened security measures and raise their security warning to level three.
While no reason was given for the raised alert, this is the highest level of security in Chinese shipping regulations and is usually issued in the face of a likely or imminent incident.
Dr Wei Yim Yap and Dr Jasmine Siu Lee Lam discuss Singapore's role in the global supply chain in a Port Technology technical paper
The Strait of Malacca, located near Singapore, experienced eight reported cases of piracy and armed robbery in 2018 – according to ReCAAP – but remains an important trade route for a variety of different vessel types.
It is said that if Malacca was blocked, approximately 50% of the world’s fleet would need to take an alternative route around Indonesia.
#FLASH: China’s Ministry of Transport has raised the security level for Chinese vessels in the Malacca Strait. *An increase to Level 3 is an exceptional measure applied only when there is credible information that a security incident is probable or imminent.* – @globaltimesnews pic.twitter.com/o9f3RiZMvM
— Global: MilitaryInfo (@Global_Mil_Info) July 4, 2019
Despite China’s calls to raise the security level, MPA Singapore has resolved to maintain the current security level one for its own vessels, although a statement did reveal that the authority is remaining vigilant to any potential threat.
MPA has also confirmed that it will “closely monitor the situation and provide updates to ships” travelling via the Strait of Malacca”.