Published: 27 September 2016
Mr Hoong Wee Teck
Commissioner of Police,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. Good afternoon. I am pleased to be here today for the commissioning and naming of the Police Coast Guard's Marina Reservoir Patrol Boats (or MRPB in short). Today marks another milestone in the enhancement of PCG's operational capabilities since the commissioning of eleven Patrol Interdiction Boats and six PK class High Speed Interceptors in July last year.
2. Security threats continue to develop around the world and within our region. The series of attacks in the United States, France, Belgium, Germany and Turkey have shown the damage which a small group of determined terrorists can cause. Attacks have also happened in our region, in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand.
3. ISIS has published a newsletter in Bahasa Indonesia, calling on ISIS fighters in Southeast Asia to carry out more attacks in the region. There are also 1,000 nationals from the region who are already participating in the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. Some of them could well return to the region and pose a threat.
Challenges in the maritime environment
4. The maritime domain is vulnerable to the threat of terrorism. Be it in harbour or while in transit, ships can be attacked or used to bring in explosives or terrorists to mount attacks here. Besides terrorism, PCG also has to contend with other challenges such as contraband smuggling and intrusions by illegal immigrants.
Maritime Operations – Protecting and Policing Our Waters
5. To ensure the integrity of our sea borders, PCG protects and polices Singapore waters based on three strategic thrusts – deterrence, detection and response.
6. To deter threats, PCG deploys various preventive measures to harden our coastline. For example, fences are deployed in uninhabited places such as the Lim Chu Kang live-firing area and floating sea barriers are deployed at waters surrounding Sentosa to deter illegal immigrants and criminals from swimming onshore illegally.
7. To detect threats, PCG continues to enhance their surveillance capabilities. Coastal Surveillance Cameras will be installed progressively from 2017 to expand surveillance coverage at the coastlines. Other technologies in the pipeline include the Panoramic Electro-Optics sensors, Unmanned Surface Vessels and Tethered Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Put together, these capabilities will allow PCG to better monitor and detect threats around the clock, before they reach our shore.
8. Boats are PCG's key response to threats detected through surveillance. PCG constantly upgrades the boats for better performance such as higher top speeds, enhanced electro-optics and more sophisticated boat design to enable lean manning and safety.
Interception: Capabilities of PCG's New Boats
9. Other than terrorists infiltrating from beyond our borders, PCG is also concerned that terrorist attacks could come from within Singapore. Radicalised persons could exploit the reservoir to mount attacks.
10. To guard against these threats, we are commissioning two new Marina Reservoir Patrol Boats (MRPBs) today. These MRPBs will give PCG the operational capability to mount security operations within the Singapore River and Marina Reservoir to protect us from possible water-borne attacks. It will allow PCG to be deployed nearer to the shoreline and patrol the waterways around the Parliament House area. This is particularly important because of the close proximity to prime locations such as Parliament House, NDP venues, and the F1 Grand Prix circuit.
11. The MRPB can achieve speeds beyond 25 knots. It is equipped with state-of-the-art navigational and surveillance equipment. For example, the Automatic Identification System (AIS) on board the MRPB tracks harbour craft in Singapore's port waters. The Satellite Global Positioning System helps PCG pinpoint the location of the MRPB to enhance navigational safety. The MRPB is also equipped with Xenon Search Lights to facilitate identification and search. The MRPB will also feature enhanced safety features and lifesaving equipment.
12. Our maritime security depends on the dedication and vigilance of our PCG officers. We will continue to equip our PCG officers with new capabilities to do their job well. These new MRPBs will enable PCG to respond swiftly and decisively to incidents and emergencies within the Singapore River, and the Marina reservoir. Safeguarding our waters and sea borders is important in our defence against security threats. I am confident that our PCG officers will be able to keep our shores safe and secure. Thank you.