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Marine Electronic Highway for Straits awaits green light

Marine Electronic Highway for Straits awaits green light

Singapore: IMO hopes this month to receive the final go-ahead for a $17m Marine Electronic Highway (MEH) project in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.

A grant covering around half ($8.3m) of the total funding needed was agreed in mid-June by the Global Environment Facility (GEF)/World Bank, $1.44m of which will go on equipment for maritime safety facilities in Indonesia, the rest to the IMO for implementation of the other facilities needed.

However, GEH/World Bank funds are conditional on endorsement of the implementation plan for the MEH by the littoral states of Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, which have to contribute the remainder. They have been requested by the IMO to submit their formal agreement, on which go-ahead of the project now hinges.

Described as a 'demonstration project' for a wider regional MEH, the programme will concentrate on implementing a Traffic Separation Scheme along some 320km of the total 1,000km of the Straits. It will be built on a network of ECDIS and environmental management tools, says the IMO, and is designed to make available a maximum amount of information both to ships and shore-based users such as vessel traffic services. Production of electronic navigation charts of the Straits will be included

Confident that endorsement will take place shortly, IMO has already published advertisements for a project launching consultant and procurement consultant. Both positions will be based out of a project management office to be set up in Batam, Indonesia, programme coordination officer James Paw tells Seatrade.   

A preparatory phase of the project costing just under $500,000 took place 2001 to 2005. Owner bodies ICS and Intertanko, as well as the International Hydrographic Organization, are supporting the project.  [01/08/06]