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Forest fires cause Malacca and Singapore risk

Forest fires cause Malacca and Singapore risk
Forest fires in Sumatra are compromising vessels’ safe passage through the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, with smoke haze seriously obstructing visibility.

At noon today, the 3-hour Pollutant Standards Index reached 401, an “unprecedented” high according to the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA). The number of vessels affected by the smog – some 140 ships a day, of which comprise tankers, container vessels, bulk carriers and cruise liners – has prompted major concern.

“The Straits of Malacca and Singapore are among the busiest and narrowest shipping lanes in the world. Reduced visibility in such heavy shipping traffic will definitely affect the safe navigation of ships in the Straits,” said Daniel Tan, executive director of SSA. “The passage through the Straits is further complicated by the many smaller barter trading ships and also passenger ships in cross-Strait traffic.

“In the event of any unfortunate accident, human lives and the marine environment will be at risk, especially if it involves a fully laden VLCC. The oil spillage from the tanker can have serious consequences not only on the marine life in the Straits but also affect the livelihood of fishermen and those who depend on the tourist industry.”

SSA urges ship Masters to navigate the Straits with caution and pay close attention to regional safety broadcasts, in accordance with the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.



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