A focal point for 200 shipping lines linked to over 600 ports globally, almost 200,000 ships pass through Singapore’s waters every year. The country’s waters are considered a “prized target” among terrorists given the growing threat of terrorism around the world.
“It is thus essential that the Home Team secures our waters as the first line of defence against such threats,” said Superintendent (Supt) Lin Zhenqiang, Head, Operations and Security, at the Police Coast Guard (PCG).
Testing the Home Team’s Abilities to Safeguard our Waters
PCG officers are trained to prevent, deter and detect crime in Singapore Territorial Waters. To bolster counter-terrorism efforts and guard against terror threats which may infiltrate via surrounding waters, PCG is stepping up training of its officers.
Enter Exercise Highcrest - a biennial exercise to test the abilities of the Home Team and the Singapore Maritime Crisis Centre (SMCC) to keep Singapore’s waters safe against maritime security threats.
Exercise Highcrest aims to strengthen WOG collaboration between agencies to ensure that Singapore is prepared to tackle any maritime and cross domain threats.
“The exercise is significant as it validates our working relationships with these agencies to handle a range of maritime security incidents,” Supt Lin said.
As part of the exercise, PCG was tasked to intercept a pair of terrorist speedboats. This required the despatch of PCG’s PK-class High Speed Interceptors and PT-class Patrol Interdiction Boats to swiftly intercept the speedboats before they reached Singapore’s shores.
“Home Team Maritime agencies had been working closely with Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) as part of SMCC, we can expect the level of cooperation, mutual understanding and synergy to increase through working together in exercises such as Highcrest,” the 32-year-old stressed.
On land, officers from Singapore Police Force’s (SPF) Coastal Hardening Strike Force (CHSF) were also deployed to arrest two suspicious characters lying in wait at Changi Coast, where the speedboats would have landed.
It was not the first time that PCG has had to work with RSN. PCG had been involved in previous iterations of Exercise Highcrest, as well as a number of other exercises such as Exercise CARAT (Co-operation Afloat Readiness and Training).
Showcasing what PCG Does
For Special Constabulary Sergeant (SC/Sgt) Rosland Bin Mohamed, the exercise was a chance for him to showcase his “interesting” National Service (NS) life to his family and friends since not every 21-year-old gets the opportunity to see how vast and busy Singapore’s waters are.
“My NS vocation with PCG is a road less travelled. I was exposed to maritime policing training on top of my basic police training. It also makes me realise how important it is to keep our waters safe and secure,” said SC/Sgt Rosland.
Based at PCG’s Brani Regional Base, SC/Sgt Rosland was deployed at Exercise Highcrest as a CHSF officer.
Reflecting on his National Service experience, SC/Sgt Rosland was glad to be able to serve as a PCG officer, which has provided him with numerous opportunities for growth, challenges and enjoyable moments.
“Make the best out of whatever situation you are in, seize the opportunity - because you will be learning a life-long skill that cannot be learnt from the outside world. I am proud and will be sharing my life experiences of an unforgettable NS life with my family and friends,” he concluded.
Safeguarding Singapore Maritime Safety
The SMCC was established in 2011 as the Whole-of-Government (WoG) response to detect and deter maritime security threats as early and as far away from Singapore as possible. It comprises personnel from RSN, SPF, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and the Singapore Customs.
Find out how the Home Team has been honing its emergency response through a series of counter-terrorism exercises:
Exercise Northstar 10 - Multiple Agencies Respond to "Terror Incident" at Changi Airport
30 October 2017