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Nippon Foundation to co-host seminar on Malacca Straits

Nippon Foundation to co-host seminar on Malacca Straits

London: Ongoing efforts to improve safety and protection of the marine environment in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore will be the subject of a symposium organised by the Nippon Foundation (NF) and the Round Table of international shipping associations - Bimco, ICS, Intercargo and Intertanko - to take place in Kuala Lumpur on November 28.

The event, which will be set up based on advice from the governments of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore (the Littoral States), also carries the support of the International Maritime Organization as a means to build further on various initiatives such as the Littoral States' Co-operative Mechanism and the IMO's Marine Electronic Highway project.

'We are hoping that this symposium will serve as an example to the other industries to take up the burden of repaying their debt to the environment,' Yohei Sasakawa (pictured), NF chairman exclusively told Seatrade. 'This is particularly important in the case of the 100km long Straits of Malacca and Singapore, as they are used for carrying around one third of the world's oil supplies and half of world trade.'

'There has been a lot of discussion in the past by various organisations individually, and we felt that the time had come for there to be a common discussion,' Sasakawa said, explaining the interest by Japan's largest charitable foundation that is funded by revenue raised from boat racing in Japan.  'We have invested $12.5m over the past 40 years for safety in this region, particularly in navigational aids and our most recent involvement is a $1.35m contribution in April for a baseline survey on which the future maintenance programme will be based. The results, due before the November symposium, should give us an accurate idea of the funds needed to ensure the safety of the marine environment in the area.'

The foundation, has pledged to bear a third of the costs involved to achieve these goals over the next five years, with the remaining funds to come from those vessel owners who use the straits.

The November symposium will cover topics linked to the Straits including:
The background, history and global significance, the legal background on safety and environmental protection in straits used for international navigation, in accordance with UNCLOS, future developments, corporate social responsibility and the development of the Co-operative Mechanism, amongst others.  [23/06/08]