Kuala Lumpur, February 10
A Malaysian government vessel has collided with a ship in waters disputed by Singapore and Malaysia, sparking a fresh flare-up of maritime tensions on Sunday between the neighbours.
Malaysian authorities impounded the Greek-flagged bulk carrier, the Pireas, and detained its crew after the collision with the Malaysian boat Polaris.
The neighbours have had testy relations since Malaysia evicted the island from the Malaysian Federation in 1965, ending a brief and stormy union of the former British colonies. Ties have gone up and down over the years but have been shaky since Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohamad, who has long had a prickly relationship with Singapore, returned to the premiership with a shock election victory last year.
Maritime tensions began rising late last year when Singapore accused Malaysia of extending its claims in the strait that separates the neighbours into what had long been accepted as the city-state’s territorial waters.
The city-state said Malaysian vessels were repeatedly encroaching into its waters, an accusation denied by Malaysia. — AFP
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