Singapore Strait

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Singapore Strait
Straits of Singapore locator map.PNG
Map of the Singapore Strait
Coordinates1°13′N 103°55′E / 1.217°N 103.917°E / 1.217; 103.917Coordinates: 1°13′N 103°55′E / 1.217°N 103.917°E / 1.217; 103.917
Basin countries Singapore
Max. length105 km (65 mi)
Min. width16 km (9.9 mi)
Average depth22 metres (72 ft) (minimum, within the nautical channel)[1]
Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap 
Download coordinates as: KML · GPX
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; 狮城海峡; traditional Chinese: 新加坡海峽; 溮城海峽; pinyin: Xīnjiāpō Hǎixiá; Shī chéng hǎixiá; Malay and Indonesian: 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 strait.

It includes Keppel Harbour and many small islands. The strait provides the deepwater passage to the Port of Singapore, which makes it very busy. Approximately 2,000 merchant ships traverse the waters on a daily basis.[2] The depth of the Singapore Strait limits the maximum draft of vessels going through the Straits of Malacca, and the Malaccamax ship class.

Historical Records[edit]

Aerial panorama of the Singapore Strait and the Pasir Panjang Port Terminal. Shot in 2016.
Aerial perspective of Kusu Island, one of the southern islands found in the Singapore Straits. Shot in 2016.

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,[3] although others generally considered it the Malacca Strait, a point of contact between the Arabs and the Zābaj (likely Sumatra).[4] Among early Europeans travellers to South East Asia, the Strait of Singapore may refer to the whole or the southern portion of the Strait of Malacca as well as other stretches of water.[5] Historians also used the term in plural, "Singapore Straits", to refer to three or four different straits found in recorded in old texts and maps – the Old Strait of Singapore between Sentosa and Telok Blangah, the New Strait of Singapore southwest of Sentosa, the "Governor's Strait" or "Strait of John de Silva" which corresponds to Phillip Channel, and the Tebrau Strait.[6] Today the Singapore Strait refers to the main channel of waterway south of Singapore where the international border between Singapore and Indonesia is located.

Second World War[edit]

The strait was mined by the British during the Second World War.[7]


In 2009 the Maersk Kendal grounded on the Monggok Sebarok reef.[8]


The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Singapore Strait as follows:[9]

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[edit]

Pilot guides and charts of the Malacca and Singapore straits have been published for a considerable time due to the nature of the straits [10][11][12][13]


  1. ^ "СИНГАПУРСКИЙ ПРОЛИВ - это... Что такое СИНГАПУРСКИЙ ПРОЛИВ?". Словари и энциклопедии на Академике (in Russian). Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  2. ^ Liang, Annabelle; Maye-E, Wong (August 22, 2017). "Busy waters around Singapore carry a host of hazards". Navy Times. Around 2,000 merchant ships travel in the area every day, Tan estimated.
  3. ^ "Tumasik Kingdom". Melayu Online. Archived from the original on 12 March 2009. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Borschberg, Peter (2012). "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): 193–224.
  7. ^ "SINGAPORE STRAIT MINED". The Central Queensland Herald. Rockhampton, Qld. 20 February 1941. p. 34. Retrieved 12 May 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ 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
  9. ^ "Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition" (PDF). International Hydrographic Organization. 1953. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  10. ^ 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
  11. ^ 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
  12. ^ 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, ISBN 9780902539716, retrieved 12 May 2012
  13. ^ 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[edit]

  • Kwa, C.G., Heng, D., Borschberg, P. and Tan, T.Y., Seven Hundred Years: A History of Singapore (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish, 2019).
  • Kwa, C.G. and Borschberg, P., Studying Singapore before 1800 (Singapore: NUS Press, 2018).
  • Borschberg, Peter, “Three questions about maritime Singapore, 16th and 17th Centuries”, Ler História, 72 (2018): 31-54.
  • Borschberg, Peter and Khoo, J.Q. Benjamin, "Singapore as a Port City, c.1290–1819: Evidence, Frameworks and Challenges", Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 91.1 (2018): 1-27.
  • 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, "Singapore and its Straits, 1500–1800", Indonesia and the Malay World 43, 3 (2017)
  • Borschberg, Peter, "Singapore in the Cycles of the Longue Duree", Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 90 (1) (2017), pp. 32–60.
  • 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[edit]