Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore agree on Co-operative Mechanism for the Straits

At an IMO coordinated meeting held this week in Singapore, the three littoral states of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore issued a statement (The Singapore Statement 2007) which announced their agreement on a Co-operative Mechanism framework for enhancing the safety of navigation, security and environmental protection in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.


The Cooperative Mechanism is the framework for a three-part plan for future cooperation in the Straits. This cooperation goes beyond the littoral states and includes the user states and other stakeholders, namely the shipping industry. The manner in which the cooperation will exist is through a Cooperation Forum in which all the key parties will meet to discuss and act on future and present projects relating directly to the enhancement of safety, security and environmental protection in the Straits.


Following the Cooperation Forum, which forms the first part of the framework, the second part is the establishment of a Project Co-ordination Committee, which will oversee the projects established and agreed upon by the Forum. The third and final part is focused on the establishment of an Aids to Navigation Fund. This Fund is intended to ensure the continued replacement and maintenance of aids to navigation in the Straits, with contributions sought by the littoral states from users of the Straits.


This new framework for cooperation between the littoral states and the user states builds on six projects which have already been agreed upon and undergone their initial phases of implementation. Under the coordination of the littoral states’ Technical Tripartite Expert Group (TTEG), the following six projects have been agreed upon:


  1. Removal of wrecks in the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS)
  2. Co-operation and capacity building in relation to the OPRC HNS Protocol
  3. Demonstration project of class B Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) transponder on small ships
  4. Setting up tide, current and wind measurement systems
  5. Replacement and maintenance of aids to navigation
  6. Replacement of aids to navigation damaged in the 2004 tsunami

 During the meeting this week in Singapore, the Cooperative Mechanism was well received by the user states and the industry in general. In particular, the Nippon Foundation committed to funding a third of the required finances for the Aids to Navigation Fund for the first five years of the project (the project runs for 10 years). Additionally, the Republic of Korea also expressed its willingness to contribute to this Fund, while the United States, China, Australia and Japan had offered to fund elements of the other five projects.


INTERTANKO’s Regional Manager Asia-Pacific, Tim Wilkins, presented the views of INTERTANKO members in relation to the Co-operative Mechanism proposal explaining that INTERTANKO welcomes the invitation to participate in the Co-operation Forum. Wilkins added that in expressing INTERTANKO’s willingness to contribute to the Forum’s work, there were a number of further elements relating to safety and environmental protection in the Straits which its members felt it was important to address in the future. In providing examples of INTERTANKO’s successes in working on navigational and environmental projects with coastal states elsewhere around the world, Wilkins’ paper was well received by the littoral states, who expressed their gratitude to INTERTANKO for contributing proposals which look at taking the Co-operative Mechanism forward.


Click here and here to view Wilkins’ slides and text, which are also available on the INTERTANKO website under INTERTANKO Presentations.


The first meeting of the Co-operation Forum will be hosted by Malaysia and will take place in 2008. In the meantime, INTERTANKO has begun work on establishing an informal user-group on safety and environmental protection in the Straits and welcomes any contributions, views and thoughts from members whose tankers transit the Straits. So far, preliminary dialogue with members has revealed a desire to work on pilotage issues, near-miss reporting and the availability of reception facilities in the region. It is anticipated that this user-group will provide the basic elements of a future INTERTANKO proposal to the Co-operation Forum in 2008.


Contact: Tim Wilkins