Haze along Straits of Malacca worsens

 
Malaysia's landmarks (from left) Wawasan Bridge, Millennium Monument, Putra Mosque and the office of prime minister Putra Perdana are shrouded with haze in Putrajaya on June 18, 2013. Marine police here have warned all barter-trading vessels plying the Straits of Malacca to refrain from navigating the waterway at night due to the haze. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

MUAR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Marine police here have warned all barter-trading vessels plying the Straits of Malacca to refrain from navigating the waterway at night due to the haze.

Its chief Assistant Superintendant Nordin Osman said the stretch of the straits between Pontian and Malacca was covered in “very thick haze”.

He said the condition could worsen in the next few days due to the westerly monsoon season.

“This would push the haze from Sumatra to the peninsula,” he warned.

The sea and coastal areas here were covered in thick haze until about 11am yesterday.

“The visibility was very low this (yesterday) morning and motorists had to switch on their headlights when travelling along several roads here,” he said.

ASP Nordin, who joined a team in a patrol boat to check the haze at the Muar estuary, said the morning air was also filled with the smell of burning wood.

He said one barter-trading vessel from Rupat in Sumatra, which was headed for Batu Pahat yesterday, had to stop at the estuary here as the crew could not see their way.

He added that the bad weather was expected to continue if there was no heavy rain in the next few days.

“I urge all vessels to navigate the Straits of Malacca carefully.”

The last time the haze hit Singapore and Malaysia so badly was in 1997 and in September that year, two ships collided in the Straits of Malacca due to low visibility, throwing dozens of seamen into the sea.

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