Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mystery boat: An Update

Some years ago, at a time when bilateral ties between the United States and Singapore weren’t as rosy as today, a small snippet was leaked that underlined the special defence relationship between the two countries.

The American Embassy apparently operated a boat for intelligence duties out of Singapore.

The boat you see in the picture stalking Indian Navy warships is the craft that was mentioned. The American Embassy boat was photographed while she was giving the Indian Navy destroyer, Delhi, a once over by inspecting it from bow to stern.

You won’t find this craft in Jane’s Fighting Ships. Many other vessels used as sentinels by the world’s intelligence services have also stayed below the radar of Jane’s, maintaining their anonymity as they snoop around the world’s sea lanes on special missions.

The craft was once anonymous. The lack of proper registration turned out to be a liability because she stood out when sailing with properly marked civilian craft. She then received Singaporean civilian registration, which was changed at least twice.

When you consider that Singapore sits astride sea lanes through which passes a third of the world’s trade and half its oil, the value of this photo intelligence boat becomes clear.

One of the US Navy officers who served aboard the boat became one of my two academic referees who supported my application for study in the United Kingdom years ago. The other referee was British author, Paul Beaver. I'm forever grateful for their support and friendship.


Anonymous said...

hi david, is this info meant for the public?

David Boey said...

The local newspaper, The Straits Times (aka the 90 cents newspaper), reported years ago that the American Embassy in Singapore operates a boat for such purposes.

This news was released at a time when Singapore bore the brunt of American unhappiness over an incident that soured bilateral ties.

This craft has since been paid off and all competent DAs from that era knew about it anyway.

There's something else from that era which hasn't been released and which I won't blog about.


Anonymous said...

hi david, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Media Mentor (MM) releases yet another explosive exposé!!!!

David Boey said...

I'm still trying to persuade those involved to tell their story.

Their stories would show that the defense relationship between the United States of America and Singapore is deeper and more meaningful than most people realise.

Anonymous said...

hi david, i am curious why it didnt cross your mind that there may be good reasons, probably pertaining to national security, to why those involved do not want to add to the story after it was reported years ago and unfortunately, you brought it back to light again....

i may be wrong but david please enlighten me. thank you.

David Boey said...

Hi there,
There are some yarns best told face-to-face instead of by email because it gives the interviewer a chance to clarify various points on the spot. That's hard to achieve when the people concerned are stateside but some day, I'll get on a plane and fly there if the story is worthwhile.

So let's not get carried away with the idea that I'm some unguided missile... which is the mental image some folks would like to propagate. :)

The national security bit crosses my mind all the time and I do think I can keep things close to my chest...

Merry X'mas,


Anonymous said...

david, i sincerely hope that your articles do not feed that 'unguided missile' image that as you say some guy would like to propagate.

anyway thanks for the reply and merry x'mas to you too. :)

Anonymous said...

Paranoid is unbecoming of a moral crusader.