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Safe navigation in the straits of Malacca and Singapore

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Author(s): Thomas Timlen, Asia Liaison Officer, Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), Singapore

The straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS) remain one of the busiest and most important shipping lanes in the world. It is a vital sea line of communication, carrying about one third of the world’s traded goods, and used by ships voyaging from west to east. Safety of navigation and the protection of the marine environment in the SOMS are of paramount importance.

The pamphlet

In May 2014, a pamphlet entitled ‘Safe Passage: The Straits of Singapore and Malacca’, was officially launched at the ninety-third session of the International Mar itime Organisation’s (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee, held in London. The Safe Passage pamphlet is the result of an initiative pursued within the Co-operative Mechanism, a framework established in 2007 in which the littoral states of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore and the users of the SOMS, pool their respective resources and expertise in an effort to enhance navigational safety and protection of the marine environment in the SOMS. The Safe Passage Pamphlet was first proposed by the international shipping association BIMCO in 2012. It is intended to be a handy tool for the users of the SOMS offering navigational guidelines and best practices to be observed, as well as the importance of adhering to the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGs). The Safe Passage pamphlet also presents useful information on collision prevention measures, night signals for vessels crossing the Traffic Separation Scheme in the Singapore Strait, local rules for ships transiting the SOMS, advice on anchoring and notifications of weather conditions affecting visibility such as haze and heavy rain.


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