Safety in the Malacca-Singapore Straits: A Symposium [2007/06/05]
A symposium on the Straits of Malacca and Singapore has held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on March 13. The symposium called for a cost-sharing scheme to fund efforts to ensure navigational safety in the Straits, the world’s busiest maritime route, traveled by 93,755 vessels each year.
The Malacca/Singapore Straits Symposium
The expansion of Asian, and especially Chinese, trade has driven a steady increase in traffic in the Straits. By 2020, 140,000 vessels are expected to use this particular route annually, an increase of some 50% from current levels. This high level of traffic will increase the risk of collisions and groundings and may result, through oil spills and exhaust gas, in significant maritime pollution. These indicators point to an urgent need for increased navigational safety measures in the Straits, including an increase of beacons and the removal of sunken vessels.
At the symposium, Mr. Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of the Nippon Foundation, which has advanced the cause of safety in the straits over the past 40 years, said: “…companies which use the straits, and which are the principal beneficiaries, should be required to fulfill their corporate social responsibility by tackling problems of safety and conservation…. The Nippon Foundation will endeavor to establish international frameworks to distribute the costs required, and set up an appropriate environment based on understanding that these straits are the forerunner of reform toward the development of a new maritime community in the Twenty-first Century.”
Mr. Sasakawa also proposed establishing a new foundation based on contributions from various governments and private enterprises, to cover the cost of ensuring safety in the Straits.