First phase of East Asia’s Marine Electronic Highway takes off
of the Project Steering Committee on Development of a Regional Marine Electronic
Highway in the East Asian Seas held on 19 and 20 March in Malaysia
The first steps
to creating an innovative Marine Electronic Highway in East Asia have been taken,
following a meeting in Malaysia to launch the development of the Marine Electronic
Highway Project, which aims to create an integrated system of physical infrastructure,
hardware and software, processes and resources to improve the safety of navigation
and the prevention of marine pollution in the busy seas of the area.
An agreement to
grant US$350,000 for the first phase of the development of a regional Marine
Electronic Highway in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, was signed earlier
in March by the World Bank - acting as an implementing agency of the Global
Environment Facility (GEF) - and the International Maritime Organization (IMO),
the executing agency. This first phase is intended to lead to a multi-million
dollar project to fully develop and implement the Marine Electronic Highway.
is the first of its kind," said Mr. Koji Sekimizu, Director of the Marine
Environment Division of IMO, in his opening statement to the First Project Steering
Committee Meeting of the GEF/WB/IMO MEH project, held from 19 to 20 March in
Putrajaya, Malaysia, at the invitation of the Government of Malaysia.
The meeting was
attended by delegations from Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, as well as representatives
from the World Bank, the International Maritime Organization and PEMSEA (Partnership
for Environmental Management in the Seas of East Asia). Observers from the World
Meteorological Organization, Japanese Coast Guard and Canadian Coast Guard also
Captain Raja Malik
Saripulazan, Director-General of the Marine Department of Peninsular Malaysia,
speaking on behalf of Y. BHG. Dato Zaharah Shaari, Secretary-General for
the Ministry of Transport for Malaysia, emphasised the economic and maritime
importance of the Malacca Straits to the three littoral States.
of the MEH project will complement the efforts taken by the littoral States
in enhancing safety of navigation and the prevention and control of marine pollution
in the Straits," he said.
"It is envisaged
that with the inception of the MEH, safety and efficiency of navigation will
increase and manoeuvring a VLCC in the Straits will no longer be a nightmare
to shipmasters," Captain Raja Malik Saripulazan said. He also strongly
urged the private sector, which will derive great benefit from the MEH project,
to come forward and support its inception.
the Marine Electronic Highway will be build upon a network of electronic nautical
charts (ENCs) using Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS)
and environmental management systems into an integrated system in the region,
allowing the maximum of information to be made available to both ships and shipmasters
as well as shore-based users such as vessel traffic control systems.
integrated system - which would include electronic nautical charts, positioning
systems, automatic ship identification (AIS) transponders as well as provision
of meteorological, oceanographic and navigational information - will provide
an essential tool for marine pollution prevention, marine pollution control,
marine environmental planning and management, as well as safety of navigation.
Marine Electronic Highway Project is therefore an integrated system of innovative
technological tools, which also involves intergovernmental and intersectoral
co-operative mechanisms for maritime safety and protection of the marine environment.
The system will also include financial, legal and institutional mechanisms that
will allow it to be fully functional, efficient and sustainable.
first phase of the project will involve a demonstration in the Straits of Malacca
and Singapore. Mr. Sekimizu emphasised that Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore
will be fully involved in the implementation of the project and the views of
user States and the shipping community must also be taken into account. He stated
that during the development of the project it might be appropriate to seek the
views of IMO Member States and the international shipping community before moving
to the next phase of the project. He added that IMO fully supported the project.
East Asia Regional MEH Project will have three phases
Phase 1 - A prototype system in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore;
Phase 2 - Network construction in priority waters from the Straits to Japan; and
Phase 3 - Completion of the entire network with emphasis on oil and gas transportation routes.
MEH Project will commence with the implementation of Phase 1 to be completed
within a one-year period.
two objectives of Phase 1 are
Activities and Outputs
expected outputs are the following:
Reports of the two Steering Committee Meetings; reports of the two national
workshops; report of the plenary regional workshop;
National Action Plans on the development of the Straits' MEH and a Regional
Action Plan for a regional MEH with a first phase in the Malacca and Singapore
Consensus among participating countries and other stakeholders on the design
of a "managing tool", an implementation/operational plan for the first
phase, an evaluation of incremental cost, identification of co-financing, and
an initial plan for moving forward from Phase 1 to Phase 2;
Supporting documentation; and
A Project Brief, detailing the strategy, outputs, activities, coordination mechanisms,
implementation schedules and partnership requirements to develop, construct
and operate the Regional MEH with a first phase in the Malacca and Singapore
MEH Project will have three key elements, namely, maritime safety, environment
protection and management, and sustainable financing. Within maritime safety,
precision navigation constitutes the backbone of the marine electronic highway.
Four key issues are fundamental to the advancement of the MEH technology to
a first phase demonstration in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, namely:
Information technology, and specifically the integration of
existing technologies and capacities within the three littoral States with new
and innovative technologies while focusing on the specific needs of users within
the three countries as well as other users of the Straits;
Socio-economic benefit to the governments, industry/private sectors, and
the civil societies in general as a consequence of the proposed MEH technology;
Financing mechanisms/investment potential, and the establishment of interagency,
intergovernmental and inter-sectoral partnerships as vehicles for successfully
developing, financing, constructing and operating the MEH as a self-sustaining,
revenue-generating enterprise in the Straits; and
Institutional arrangements, with agreement among participating parties on
the administrative, legal, financial and operational aspects of a "managing
tool", which will be responsible for implementing the first phase MEH project
in the Straits.
First Project Steering
The First Project
Steering Committee was organized by IMO and was co-chaired by Y.M. Raja Malik
Saripulazan, Director-General of the Maritime Department of Peninsular Malaysia,
and Mr. Sudariyono, Director for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems of Indonesia.
Captain Wilson Chua from Singapore was elected as Rapporteur.
The meeting successfully
achieved its main objectives, which were:
National Workshops July/ August 2001
Regional meetings September 2001
Regional Workshops November 2001
Second Project Steering Committee Meeting January 2002.