States make progress in co-operation to enhance safety of navigation, security and environmental protection in Straits of Malacca and Singapore



The littoral States of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore and user States have agreed, at a meeting in Kuala Lumpur, to support the proposed co-operative mechanism on safety of navigation and environmental protection in the Straits, one of the most important and busiest shipping routes in the world.

The joint efforts of the armed forces of the littoral States in contributing to the security of the Straits, through the Malacca Straits Coordinated Patrols and the "Eyes in the Sky" maritime patrols were highlighted as positive steps towards enhancing maritime security in the Straits.

The Meeting on the Straits of Malacca and Singapore: Enhancing Safety, Security and Environmental Protection, which took place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from 18 to 20 September 2006, was convened by IMO and the Government of Malaysia and organized in co-operation with the Government of the Republic of Indonesia and the Government of the Republic of Singapore.

Delegations from the three littoral States (Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore) and from 28 other States, as well as observers from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and nine non-governmental organizations, attended the meeting to discuss recent developments relating to safety, security and environmental protection of the Straits, with the aim of developing mechanisms and programmes to facilitate co-operation in keeping the Straits safe and open to international shipping at all times. One-third of the world's trade and half of the world's oil supply are carried through the Straits by some 60,000 vessels each year.

The meeting adopted the Kuala Lumpur Statement, in which it agreed to support the continuous efforts of the littoral States and the proposed co-operative mechanism as presented by the littoral States on safety of navigation and environmental protection, the aim of which is to promote dialogue and facilitate close co-operation between the littoral States, user States, shipping industry and other stakeholders.

The meeting supported the following projects presented by the three littoral States:
  Removal of wrecks in the Traffic Separation Scheme in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore;
  Co-operation and capacity building on hazardous and noxious substance (HNS); preparedness and response in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore;
  Demonstration project of class B automatic identification system (AIS) transponder on small ships;
  Setting up tide, current and wind measurement systems for the Straits of Malacca and Singapore to enhance navigational safety and marine environment protection;
  Replacement and maintenance of aids to navigation in the Malacca and Singapore Straits; and
  Replacement of aids to navigation damaged by the tsunami disaster of December 2004.

The meeting agreed that the littoral States, user States, the shipping industry and other stakeholders should co-operate towards the establishment of a mechanism for voluntary funding for the above projects and the maintenance and renewal of aids to navigation in the Straits.

The Kuala Lumpur Meeting was held a year after the first Meeting on the Straits of Malacca and Singapore: Enhancing Safety, Security and Environmental Protection, held in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The Kuala Lumpur Meeting agreed to support the continuous efforts of the littoral States to promote dialogue and facilitate close co-operation between the littoral States, user States, shipping industry and other stakeholders. It commended and welcomed efforts made since the Jakarta meeting in enhancing safety of navigation, environmental protection and security in the Straits, in particular in reducing the number of shipping incidents, oil spill incidents from ships, and armed robbery and other unlawful acts against ships to a very low level.

The meeting noted with appreciation the entry into force of the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia ("ReCAAP") on 4 September 2006, which will lead to the launch of the ReCAAP Information Sharing Centre in Singapore in November 2006.

The progress made in relation to the implementation of the Marine Electronic Highway (MEH) Demonstration Project for the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, developed by IMO in co-operation with the littoral States and funded by the Global Environmental Facility of the World Bank and with financial support from the Republic of Korea, was also commended. The proposed projects discussed at the meeting could contribute to the MEH project.

The meeting agreed that the work of the Tripartite Technical Experts Group on Safety of Navigation (TTEG), in enhancing the safety of navigation and in protecting the marine environment in the Straits, should continue to be supported and encouraged, and the littoral States should continue their efforts towards enhancing maritime security in the Straits.

IMO was invited to continue to co-operate with the littoral States and to provide every assistance possible in attracting sponsors for the agreed projects and contributors for the maintenance, repair and replacement of aids to navigation in the Straits.

IMO was also invited to consider, in consultation with the littoral States, convening further follow-on meetings for the littoral States to identify and prioritize specific needs, and for user States to identify possible assistance and to respond to those specific needs, which may include provision of resources, capacity building, training and technical support, with a view to promote further co-operative measures, including possible options for burden sharing.

The Straits of Malacca and Singapore has long served as a major artery of trade between countries in the east and those in the west and is also an important source of marine resources for the littoral States. A significant proportion of the population of the littoral States lives within 50 km of the Straits and many are directly dependent on it, making it essential that shipping passes through the Straits safely to avoid any environmental damage.

Briefing 32, 22 September 2006

For further information please contact:
Lee Adamson, Head, Public Information Services on 020 7587 3153 (media@imo.org) or
Natasha Brown, External Relations Officer on 020 7587 3274 (media@imo.org).