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Marine Electronic Highway (MEH) Demonstration Project in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore


The International Maritime Organization (IMO) commenced implementation of the Marine Electronic Highway (MEH) Demonstration Project in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS)  following the signing, on 19 June 2005, of a US$6.86 million grant agreement between the Global Environment Facility (GEF)/World Bank and IMO.  This project was developed by a separate grant from GEF/World Bank to IMO amounting to US$473,000 from 2001 to 2005 with the participation of the three littoral States and shipping associations.

A national component of the MEH Demonstration Project with a US$1.44 million grant to the Republic of Indonesia was also implemented.  The components of this national project consisted of the procurement, installation and management of the marine information equipment that will provide maritime information to the MEH from the Indonesia part of the SOMS.  The regional component of the Project administered by IMO also received additional grant of US$800,000 from the Republic of Korea and was utilized to develop and install an Internet-based MEH system in Batam, Indonesia.  The MEH Demonstration Project was a collaborative agreement between IMO and the littoral States of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore and in partnership with the Republic of Korea, International Hydrographic Commission, the International Chamber of Shipping and the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners.

The regional demonstration project aimed to link shore-based marine information and communication infrastructure with the corresponding navigational and communication facilities aboard transiting ships, while being also capable of incorporating marine environmental management systems. The overall objectives were to enhance maritime services, improve navigational safety and security and promote marine environment protection and the sustainable development and use of the coastal and marine resources of the Straits' littoral States, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

The MEH Demonstration Project was closed on 15 May 2013 with the completion of the Indonesian national component of the project.

With the completion of the MEH Demonstration Project, it bequeathed the following:

    1. An operational MEH Data Center in Batam, Indonesia, which was handed over to Indonesia’s Directorate General of Sea Transportation (DGST) on 3 August 2012 by IMO’s Secretary-General;
    2. All Project assets installed at the Project Management Office in Batam transferred to DGST as the beneficiary, including a hydrodynamic-coupled oil spill modelling software (DGST) and a suite of ENC Production tools to both Indonesia (DISHIDROS) and Malaysia (National Hydrographic Centre); and
    3. Trained IT staff to operate the MEH Data Center in Batam and hydrographers on hydrographic survey techniques (all three littoral States).

As the executing agency of the MEH Demonstration Project, IMO has successfully transferred the responsibility on the continued development and operation of the Batam MEH Data Center directly to As the executing agency of the MEH Demonstration Project, IMO has successfully transferred the responsibility on the continued development and operation of the Batam MEH Data Center directly to DGST under the guidance of under the guidance of Tripartite Technical Expert Group and the Co-operative Mechanism of SOMS.  Malaysia and Singapore have established backup systems which will operate during downtime of the Batam MEH Data Center ensuring transmitted data are not lost.  For Malaysia, the backup system is also linked to the Marine Department’s database system and is being accessed by various agencies in Malaysia including the MEH Data.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Project The Project carried out a hydrographic survey of a portion of the Malacca Strait and the production of high resolution electronic navigational chart (ENCs).  This survey could be categorized as a milestone achievement of the MEH Demonstration Project.  Never before has such a detailed survey coverage using modern instrumentation and processed by advanced digital technology has been undertaken in the Malacca Strait that provides a detailed one hundred percent floor coverage of the critical shipping route in Malacca Strait.  The information derived could provide application in many fields of study such as the Sand Wave Study and other challenging issues, seabed features and sedimentology as well as evidence of reverse flow of the main column of water coming from the Andaman Sea back into the Indian Ocean as the seabed shallows quickly to 10 or 20 metres from ocean depths of close to 1000 metres.  Although very good ENCs have been prepared from the hydrographic survey, the area covered is not significant enough to warrant any updating of the ENCs of the TSS.  Furthermore, the project carried out a hydrographic survey of a portion of the Malacca Strait and the production of high resolution electronic navigational chart (ENCs).  This survey could be categorized as a milestone achievement of the MEH Demonstration Project.  Never before has such a detailed survey coverage using modern instrumentation and processed by advanced digital technology has been undertaken in the Malacca Strait that provides a detailed one hundred percent floor coverage of the critical shipping route in Malacca Strait.  The information derived could provide application in many fields of study such as the Sand Wave Study and other challenging issues, seabed features and sedimentology as well as evidence of reverse flow of the main column of water coming from the Andaman Sea back into the Indian Ocean as the seabed shallows quickly to 10 or 20 metres from ocean depths of close to 1000 metres.  Although very good ENCs have been prepared from the hydrographic survey, the area covered is not significant enough to warrant any updating of the ENCs of the TSS.  Furthermore, the project also successfully produced environmental marine information overlays (E-MIOs), complementing the Straits of Malacca and Singapore’s electronic navigation chart, mainly static entities like mangroves and coral reefs using IHO S-100 standards.  For both the ENCs and the E-MIOs produced by the Project, the hydrographic offices of the littoral States have to agree to carry out further work to ensure that the charts meet the technical specifications required for navigation. 

 

Finally, evaluation of potential economic, financial, and environmental cost/benefit analysis was carried out and feasibility of Marine Electronic Highway system for the entire Straits and Environment Fund was assessed based on the performance of the demonstration. Results were presented and approved by the key stakeholders.  Overall, the piloting of the MEH system was a success but the full development of a Strait-wide system remains Finally, evaluation of potential economic, financial, and environmental cost/benefit analysis was carried out and feasibility of Marine Electronic Highway system for the entire Straits and Environment Fund was assessed based on the performance of the demonstration. Results were presented and approved by the key stakeholders.  Overall, the piloting of the MEH system was a success but the full development of a Strait-wide system remains the responsibilities of the littoral States.
 
 

 

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