Singapore Strait

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Coordinates: 1°13′N 103°55′E / 1.217°N 103.917°E / 1.217; 103.917

Map of the Singapore Strait.
The Singapore Strait, as seen from East Coast Park.
The Singapore Strait, as seen from Marina Bay Sands.

The Singapore Strait (simplified Chinese: 新加坡海峡; traditional Chinese: 新加坡海峽; pinyin: Xīnjiāpō Hǎixiá; Malay: Selat Singapura) is a 105-kilometer long, 16-kilometer wide strait between the Strait of Malacca in the west and the Karimata Strait in the east. Singapore is on the north of the channel and the Riau Islands are on the south. The Indonesia-Singapore border lies along the length of the straits.

It includes Keppel Harbour and many small islands. The strait provides the deepwater passage to the Port of Singapore, which makes it very busy.

The depth of the Singapore Strait defines the maximum draft of vessels going through the Straits of Malacca, and the Malaccamax ship class.

Historical Records

The 9th century AD Muslim author Ya'qubi referred a Bahr Salahit or Sea of Salahit (from the Malay selat meaning strait), one of the Seven Seas to be traversed to reach China. Some have interpreted Sea of Salahit as referring to Singapore,[1] although others considered it the Malacca Strait, especially its narrow part.[2] Among early Europeans travellers to South East Asia, the Strait of Singapore may refer to the southern portion of the Strait of Malacca as well as other stretches of water.[3]

Second World War

It was mined during the Second World War.[4]


In 2009 the Maersk Kendal grounded on the Monggok Sebarok reef.[5]


The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Singapore Strait as follows:[6]

On the West. The Eastern limit of Malacca Strait [A line joining Tanjong Piai (Bulus), the Southern extremity of the Malay Peninsula (1°16′N 103°31′E / 1.267°N 103.517°E / 1.267; 103.517 (W1)) and The Brothers (1°11.5′N 103°21′E / 1.1917°N 103.350°E / 1.1917; 103.350 (W2)) and thence to Klein Karimoen (1°10′N 103°23.5′E / 1.167°N 103.3917°E / 1.167; 103.3917 (W3))].

On the East. A line joining Tanjong Datok, the Southeast point of Johore (1°22′N 104°17′E / 1.367°N 104.283°E / 1.367; 104.283 (E1)) through Horsburgh Reef to Pulo Koko, the Northeastern extreme of Bintan Island (1°13.5′N 104°35′E / 1.2250°N 104.583°E / 1.2250; 104.583 (E2)).

On the North. The Southern shore of Singapore Island, Johore Shoal and the Southeastern coast of the Malay Peninsula.

On the South. A line joining Klein Karimoen to Pulo Pemping Besar (1°06.5′N 103°47.5′E / 1.1083°N 103.7917°E / 1.1083; 103.7917 (S)) thence along the Northern coasts of Batam and Bintan Islands to Pulo Koko.

Pilot guides and charts

Pilot guides and charts of the Malacca and Singapore straits have been published for a considerable time due to the nature of the straits [7][8][9][10]


  1. ^ "Tumasik Kingdom". Melayu Online. Archived from the original on 12 March 2009. 
  2. ^ R. A. Donkin (March 2004). Between East and West: The Moluccas and the Traffic in Spices Up to the Arrival of Europeans. Amer Philosophical Society. p. 91. ISBN 978-0871692481. 
  3. ^ Peter Borschberg, ed. (December 2004). Iberians in the Singapore-Melaka Area and Adjacent Regions (16th to 18th Century). Harrassowitz. pp. 97–99. ISBN 978-3447051071. 
  4. ^ "SINGAPORE STRAIT MINED.". The Central Queensland Herald (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1930 - 1956). Rockhampton, Qld.: National Library of Australia. 20 February 1941. p. 34. Retrieved 12 May 2012. 
  5. ^ Great Britain. Marine Accident Investigation Branch (2010), Report on the grounding of mv Maersk Kendal on Monggok Sebarok reef in the Singapore Strait on 16 September 2009, Marine Accident Investigation Branch, retrieved 12 May 2012 
  6. ^ "Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd >edition" (PDF). International Hydrographic Organization. 1953. Retrieved 7 February 2010. 
  7. ^ Great Britain. Hydrographic Dept; Great Britain. Hydrographic Office (1971), Malacca Strait and west coast of Sumatra pilot : comprising Malacca Strait and its northern approaches, Singapore Strait, and the west coast of Sumatra (5th ed. (1971)- ed.), Hydrographer of the Navy, retrieved 12 May 2012 
  8. ^ Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore; Chua, Tiag Ming (2000), Charts for small craft, Singapore Strait & adjacent waterways (2000 ed.), Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, retrieved 12 May 2012 
  9. ^ Great Britain. Hydrographic Dept; Hennessey, S. J (1971), Malacca Strait and west coast of Sumatra pilot : comprising Malacca Strait and its northern approaches, Singapore Strait, and the west coast of Sumatra (5th ed.), Hydrographer of the Navy, retrieved 12 May 2012 
  10. ^ Singapore. Maritime and Port Authority; Singapore. Maritime and Port Authority. Hydrographic Dept (1998), Singapore Strait, Hydrographic Dept., Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, retrieved 12 May 2012 

Further reading

  • Borschberg, Peter, "Singapura in Early Modern Cartography: A Sea of Challenges", in Visualising Space. Maps of Singapore and the Region. Collections from the National Library and National Archives of Singapore (Singapore: NLB, 2015): 6-33.
  • Borschberg, Peter, The Singapore and Melaka Straits. Violence, Security and Diplomacy in the 17th Century, Singapore and Leiden: NUS Press and KITLV Press, 2010.
  • Borschberg, Peter, Jacques de Coutre's Singapore and Johor, 1595-c1625, Singapore: NUS Press, 2015.
  • Borschberg, Peter, Admiral Matelieff's Singapore and Johor, 1606-1616, Singapore, 2015.
  • Borschberg, Peter, “The Singapore Straits in the Latter Middle Ages and Early Modern Period (c.13th to 17th Centuries). Facts, Fancy and Historiographical Challenges”, Journal of Asian History, 46.2 (2012): 193-224.
  • Borschberg, Peter, “The Straits of Singapore: Continuity, Change and Confusion”, in Sketching the Straits. A Compilation of the Lecture Series on the Charles Dyce Collection, ed. Irene Lim (Singapore: NUS Museums, 2004): 33-47.
  • Borschberg, Peter, “Fictitious Strait and Imagined Island: Singapura in the late 16th and early 17th century”, Oriente, 18 (2007): 45-67.
  • Gibson-Hill, Carl-Alexander, "Singapore: Note on the History of the Old Straits, 1580–1850", Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 27.1 (1954): 165-214.

See also

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