Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia to continue efforts to map Singapore and Malacca Straits

SINGAPORE - To improve safety in one of the busiest waterways in the world, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia have signed an agreement to continue efforts to map the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.

Phase Two of a joint hydrographic survey was launched after the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at the 10th Cooperation Forum in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia on Monday (Oct 2).

The second phase will cover the remaining areas of the Traffic Separation Scheme within the Straits of Malacca and Singapore which are shallower than 30m. It continues from Phase One, which was launched in 2015.

The data obtained from the survey would be used to produce up-to-date, large-scale nautical charts for safe navigation and better voyage planning in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, said the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) in a statement on Tuesday (Oct 3).

The results of the survey could also be used by industry and academia for research in relevant areas, added the statement.

Chief executive of MPA Andrew Tan said: "(The joint survey) reflects the joint efforts of the three littoral states in promoting safety of navigation in the Straits."

There were five signatories to the MOU, including Mr Tan, chief of Indonesian Hydrographic Centre Harjo Susmoro and Dato Hj Baharin Bin Dato Abdul Hamid, director-general of the Malaysia Marine Department.

The survey was also supported by the Malacca Strait Council of Japan, whose president Tatsuhiko Miyazaki, was also a signatory.

The cooperation forum is hosted by the Marine Department of Malaysia this year. It provides an avenue for the littoral states and other stakeholders of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore to exchange views on issues of common interest in the Straits.

The MOU signing comes after two ship collisions in the last two months.

Last month (Sept 13), Dredger JBB De Rong 19 and tanker Kartika Segara collided off Sisters' Islands, three weeks after United States warship USS John S. McCain and Liberian-registered oil tanker Alnic MC collided off Pedra Branca on Aug 21.