Singapore needs to do more to improve its maritime security, says Teo Chee Hean

Piracy, sea robberies and the emergent threat of transnational maritime terrorism are of concern.

For protecting Singapore's maritime borders its navy has to remain a strong force in the wake of increasing piracy, sea robberies, and the emergent threat of transnational maritime terrorism, Acting Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said on Saturday.

He was speaking at the launch ceremomy of the Republic of Singapore Navy's (RSN) second littoral mission vessel (LMV), the Sovereignty.

More than 1,000 vessels pass through the Singapore Strait daily, making it one of the world's busiest waterways. Teao said that the geo-strategic location and large volume of maritime traffic itself makes it vulnerable.

"The interruption of sea traffic or a threat coming from the many vessels sailing through these waters will have a serious impact on us here in Singapore," he added.

He also underscored the importance of innovation in boosting the navy's capabilities to safeguard Singapore's waters.

Mr Teo said the use of smart technologies to design the vessels operational systems allows it to detect and respond faster to maritime threats in a cluttered littoral environment.

The Sovereignty is the second of eight LMVs that will be built for the navy, under an agreement between the Defence Ministry and ST Engineering in 2013. These will replace the Fearless-class Patrol Vessels which have been in service for around 20 years.

The two LMVs launched so far are expected to be fully operational by next year, after undergoing sea trials.