Officials from Indonesia and Singapore met in Denpasar (Indonesia) on Wednesday to discuss shipping security in the Malacca-Singapore Straits.
The head of the Sub-Directorate of Buoy Base and Workshop of the Ministry of Transportation, Soedirman Said, said the Malacca-Singapore Straits lane is very crowded as it is the meeting point for up to 80,000 ships of various types every year. This leads to frequent accidents in the area.
A system of separate routes of ship traffic (TSS) has been set up between the deep part of the lane from West to East and the other way round, that is East to West, which is shallower for ships that no longer carry cargo.
“Many ships that pass along these lanes often cannot identify each other or ships coming from the opposite routes,” he noted.
He reminded that Indonesia has not yet joined the navigation assistance facility in the TSS lane because based on the mandate of the International Maritime Organization that has the right to arrange navigation in the TSS lane are Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) Singapore and VTS Malaysia.
In view of that, Soedirman noted that based on the IMO Resolution A.375, Indonesia also played a role in improving navigation in the crowded and narrow lane “so that VTS Singapore and VTS Indonesia could coordinate in the exchange of information to improve safety, especially in the Singapore Strait.”
On the occasion, the head of Operation Section of Sub-Directorate of Shipping Telecommunication of the Directorate of Navigation of the Ministry of Transportation, Erika Manurung, said Indonesia did not have VTS when the navigation arrangement was determined by the IMO at the TSS.
Erika reminded that Indonesia only set up VTS in 1997 and it became operational in 1998. Right now, it has 20 VTS spreading across ports in Indonesia with three of them in Merak, Batam and Benoa. These also arrange buoys in the straits or bays.
“We will also offer cooperation for capacity building, information sharing and other aspects,” she assured.
The head of Ship Accidents and Checks Section, Wahyu Prianto, disclosed that on an average, three to five accidents happen every year in the Malacca-Singapore Strait, but added that the number of accidents dropped significantly when compared to around 20 accidents annually earlier.
The head of the Sub-Directorate of Port System 1 and head of the Port Authority of Singapore Port, Kevin Wong, hailed the proposal for cooperation.
“Talking about VTS, what is more important to develop than equipment are human resources and a culture of safety,” he pointed out.
Source: Antara News