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Safety of navigation in Malacca and Singapore Straits

BIMCO is participating at the IMO Cooperative Mechanism in Malacca Malaysia during a week of meetings aimed at improving the safety of navigation and environmental protection in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.

The first of the three meetings was the 4th Cooperation Forum opened by the Director General of Malaysia’s Marine Department Y.BHG Dato’ Captain Ahmad Othman on 10 October 2011. Captain Othman pointed out that the Cooperation Forum has successfully provided “meaningful opportunities for all interested parties to share their interests towards ensuring the Straits remain safe and open for international navigation.”


Picture above: BIMCO's Mr. Aron Frank Sørensen, Chief Marine Technical Officer

In his welcoming address, Malaysia’s Minister of Transport, YB Dato’ Sri Kong Cho Ha emphasized the importance of Article 43 of United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as the very basis for which the Cooperative Mechanism was established. “It is vital that all stakeholders embrace the meaning and intent of Article 43 to ensure the sustainability of the straits of Malacca and Singapore”, said the Minister, adding that the enhanced collaborative efforts between the littoral States, the User States and the industry represented a welcome new phase of the Cooperative Mechanism.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Lam Yi Young, Chief Executive of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore said that he was very glad to see the Roundtable of international shipping associations (BIMCO, ICS, INTERTANKO and INTERCARGO) working with the Littoral States towards the common goals of enhancing navigational safety and environmental protection in the Straits. “Since the Roundtable was first involved in the Co-operative Mechanism during the 2nd Co-operation Forum in 2009, much progress has been made” said Mr. Lam. He also highlighted the Round Table’s involvement with the littoral States 3+Industry Meeting in Jakarta in July 2010 and the two Technical Working Groups subsequently formed to carry out work on navigational safety and environmental protection.

At the conclusion of the opening remarks, the respective representatives of the littoral States launched the Cooperative Mechanism website, please see link below.

The website will provide users with updates on related Straits projects as well as useful practical information relating to the Straits.

Mr. Mitsuyuki Unno of the Nippon Foundation provided a summary of progress made so far under the Cooperative Mechanism and considered future challenges. The Nippon Foundation has been involved with navigational safety in the Straits since 1968, funding initiatives including the maintenance of navigational aids and training programs, which has involved assistance amounting to over USD 130 million. Mr. Unno also informed the meeting of plans underway with the Nippon Foundation, JITI, BIMCO and others to hold a seminar during Singapore Maritime Week in April 2012 which will explore the application of Corporate Social Responsibility in the context of shipping activities.

The CF has been working on several important projects including:

  • Removal of Wrecks in the Straits to Enhance Navigational Safety,
  • Preparedness and Response Capabilities regarding HNS Incidents,
  • AIS Class-B Transponders on Small Ships,
  • Wind, Tide and Current Measurement System,
  • Replacement and Maintenance of Navigation Aids, and Replacement of aids to navigation destroyed or damaged by the tsunami in December 2004

The Round Table of international shipping associations has initiated two projects concerning Safety of Navigation and Port Reception Facilities all contribute towards Safety of Navigation and Protection of the environment. A few projects have been concluded while a number still are underway. The projects under the co-operative mechanism represent a good illustration of what can be accomplished when parties with similar objectives apply the spirit of co-operation in pursuing agreed goals.

During the meetings BIMCO was invited to make a presentation on the ship owner’s perspective on the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. Here the importance of the work done was affirmed and BIMCO commitment to participate in future work was assured.

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