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New ENCs for under keel clearance to enhance safety in Malacca, Singapore straits

Ships plying the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS) can expect to receive aid for better voyage planning and greater navigational safety with new Electronic Navigational Charts (ENCs).

Announced at the 8th Co-operation Forum held in Singapore on Monday, data yielded from a hydrographic survey of SOMS to be conducted by the three littoral states – Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore – together with Japan, will be used to produce large-scale ENCs that will complement existing ENCs of the SOMS.

The latest initiative was one of the key recommendations that arose from a study conducted by OMC International commissioned by the littoral states in 2013 on real-time monitoring of under keel clearance in the SOMS.

The new ENCs would provide the shipping industry and authorities with high resolution bathymetry information relating to the depth of waters, offering improved voyage planning and enhanced navigational safety.

“The SOMS is one of the world’s busiest and most important shipping lanes in the world. It will continue to grow in significance as maritime trade flourishes. To support this growth, it is essential to ensure continued safety of navigation and protection of the marine environment within the SOMS,” said Andrew Tan, chief executive of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).

“The joint hydrographic survey of the SOMS to be conducted by the littoral States and Japan is a positive outcome which epitomises the mutual cooperation and collective will to enhance the continued safety and efficiency of vessels that ply these waters,” Tan added.

The Co-operation Forum is the main avenue for the littoral states of the SOMS, user states, the industry and other stakeholders to engage in dialogue, exchange information and share their valuable perspectives on important issues relating to the SOMS.

It also facilitates concrete and practical cooperation between them in the maintenance of safety of navigation and environmental protection in the straits.

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