Thursday, March 6, 2008

MALACCA: The Impact of Transportation on Wildlife in the Malacca Straits

TED Case Studies
MALACCA: The Impact of Transportation on Wildlife in the Malacca Straits


I. Identification
1. The Issue
This case study, examines the globalization impact of transportation through the Straits of Malacca with the expend on undersea life, specifically dugong. Strait of Malacca's body of water in southeastern Asia, separating the Malay Peninsula on the northeast from the island of Sumatra on the southwest, and connecting the Andaman Sea, an arm of the Indian Ocean, on the north with the South China Sea on the south. At the southern end of the strait are several islands.
The strait is one of the most important shipping lanes in the world. By using the Malacca strait instead of the Indonesia's Lombok Straits, super -large tankers ferrying crude oil from the Middle East to the Far East can save up to 1,600 km- roughly three days sailing time. Since the heady days of the Malacca Empire, the Straits of Malacca have been much sought after, as it was the shortest tread route from the Indian Ocean to the South China Sea.
In the middle of this century, the Straits of Malacca was a wonderful home for dugongs; as it posses crystal clear waters, an abundance of seagrass beds for food, and a few, if any motorized sea-going vessels. Fast forward five decades later: dugongs are still spotted-the only catch is, they are dead ones. The recent captivate of a female calf has lead to the conclusion that seagrass beds are destroyed by ocean pollution due to the passing ships, sea reclamation and fishing. Dugongs in search of food by sense of smell often end up trapped or found dead in Kelong or fish net.
This is the present day Malacca Straits, the world's second busiest commercial shipping lane (topped only by the Dover Straits in Britain) through which an average of 200 ships passes a day. For every ship that passes through, there is a risk of an accident and spill of cargo that include crude oil, toxic chemicals and radioactive substances- Japan reprocesses 90% of its nuclear material in Europe, and those shipment travel through the Straits.
The control and management of pollution is made more difficult by the lack of shore reception facilities for vessel wastes in ports warned Indonesian Maritime directorate. Malaysia invested Rm52 million to install 256 navigational aids in the Straits, including light buoys and beacons. This was in addition to another Rm100 million for putting up a Vessel Traffic Management System for navigating safety.
Another outcome of the regional effort to control pollution will be the imposition of fees on shippers. This will help subsidize an integrated sustainable management program that covers both shipping safety and protection of natural resources. It is now recognize that protecting the Strait requires a multidisciplinary and multisectoral approach; one which will not be possible without financial support from the wealthier nations which are major users of the Straits. However, it has been knowledge that it will be no easy task convincing these people to pay up. After all, ships can still sail through the Straits no matter how foul the water. It is the littoral states that will have to bear the consequences of a degraded marine environment.
The University of Philippine said that because the ecosystem services are not fully quantified, they are often given little weight in policy making. Considerable attention is needed to identify marine pollution and management programs.
2. Description
Malacca Straits
At approximately 500 miles long the Malacca Strait is the longest strait in the world that is used for international navigation. It forms the main seaway connecting the Indian Ocean with the China Sea and provides the shortest route for tankers trading between the Middle-East Asian countries. The greater part of the waterway runs through the territorial waters of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand with the much shorter Singapore Strait joining it at the southern end. It varies in width from 200 miles to 11 miles with irregular depths from over 70 to less than 10 meters. A through route of 23 meters depth have been identified. There are numerous wrecks and shoal patches many of which are unconfirmed or their location reported in approximate position. Current predominantly flows in a north-westerly direction with rates of 1 to 1.25 knots but with the effects of tidal streams the speed of the flow increases to 5 knots in some localities. Tidal range varies with locality from 1.6 to 3.7 meters, with much higher ranges inshore; Port Kelang, for example, experiences high water at spring tide up to 5 meters with the tidal stream attaining rates of over 4 knots. In the Singapore Strait tidal rate of 6 knots can be expected at some localities. Climate is tropical and the sea is generally calm but during the southwest monsoon and the two inter-monsoon periods occasional thunderstorms with squalls giving rise to winds gusting up to 50 knots may be experienced. Rainfall is abundant and heavy rain can occur at any time of the year; the duration is generally short but intensities are high and often torrential. Visibility used to be good except during showers but haze has been a regular occurrence. In 1992 there was a prolonged period of thick haze reducing visibility to less than 1 kilometer. (Source:Capt. Raja Malik Kamaruzaman,1999)
Influence Of Chinese Voyages
The Chinese maritime voyages influence the rise of Malacca. The early 15th century saw Ming Chinese armadas, unprecedented in size any where in the world up to that time, travelling the seas through South-East Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Arabian peinsula and to the coast of East Africa. For more than 30 years these voyages continue until the Chinese State rapidly losing interest in the maritime realm and state expenditure being directed to the other spheres. To understand the world into which these Ming fleets sailed. It is a need to look over the pervious century, to comprehend the political and economical ecology of Nusantara at that time, and the ways that it was changing. In the first half of the 14th century, the Javanese empire of Majapahit and the Sumatran empire of Majapahit and the Sumatran empire of Srivijaya held sway over much of insular South-East Asia. The Nagarakretagarna, a Javanese chronicle, claims that Dungun, Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan were among the Majapahit and Srivijaya were among the Majapahit's dependencies. The ports of Majapahit and Srivijaya were major trading emporia, connecting the markets of South East Asia with those of China, India, the Middle East and beyond. On the mainland of South-East Asia, the Thais were expanding and their power was extending down the Malay peninsula, while in China, the Mongol Yuan administration-which had once sent naval expeditions into South-East Asia-was suffering decay and facing major rebellions.(Groff 1999: p. 9)
The second half of that century saw a number of changes which were to have wide-ranging effects both through Nusantara and within China and it was these changes which were to set the stage for events of 15th century. According to the Javanese chronicles, Majapahit ruler Hayam Wuruk died in 1389 and Java was divided into Eastern and Western part, which naturally reduce the degree to which the Javanese could extend their power to other parts of the archipelago. At the same time. A new political force had emerged in China, with Zhu Yuan Zhang establishing the Ming dynasty on ashes of Yuan regime. Of Malay Peninsula at that time, Temasek (now Singapore) seem to have been a prominent trading port, as were the port-polities of Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang. To the north of the peninsula, the Thais, whose political power had been extending southwards over the century, had captured Sridhammanagara (centered on what is now Nakhon Si Thammarat). The Thais attacked Temasek in the middle century. We hear in 1407 of envoys from Malacca and Samudera (in modern Acheh) coming to the Chinese court to advise that "Siam had been over-bearing and had sent troops to take away their seals and title patents which had been conferred by the court." To the west of the peninsula lay Sumatra and the maritime realm of Srivijaya, centered on Palembang and Jambi. This had previously been one of the major and longest lasting kingdoms in the archipelago, but by the last quarter of the 14th century, attacks from Java and contention within the polity itself resulted in great disturbance in the already decayed polity. It was likely this situation which led Parameswara, the acknowledged founder of Malacca, to flee from the area in the latter part of the 14th century.(Groff 1999: p. 9)
Malacca's Diplomacy With China
The first of these spectacular maritime voyages began in the summer of 1405. At least 60 large vessels (some of which were over 120m long) and 255 smaller craft, manned with a force of over 27,000 men, set sail under the command of Admiral Zheng He. After visiting Champs, the armada sailed to Sumatra where the Chinese navy proceeded to destroy the forces of Chinese émigré, Chen Zu-yi, who had gained political power in Palembang following the political disturbance which marked the decline of Srivijaya. His assumption of power may have been the cause-or perhaps the result-of Parameswara's fight from Palembang to Singapore. Zheng He "appointed" another of the Chinese émigrés to govern the community. Here we see the beginnings of efforts by the Ming admirals to exercise control over what they recognized as a strategy waterway - the Straits of Malacca. Prior to this, in 1403, the Ming emperor had sent an envoy to a polity that had not been previously recorded in any text-it was named Malacca. We thus know that Malacca had come into existence by at least the beginning of the 15th century, and that the ruler of that port polity - Parameswara - sent an envoy to the Chinese court in 1405. It appears that the interest of Parameswara and of the Ming policy-makers corresponded on one major issue: the need to reduce the power of Java and Siam. It was thus that Malacca was to play such a major part in China's maritime voyages and diplomacy over 30 years. With their two allies Palembang and Malacca on the either side of the Straits of Malacca and Samudera at the northern entry to the Straits, the Ming force had control over the strategic waterway by which they were to reach the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea.(Groff 1999: p. 8)
To consolidate this control they established "government depots" at Malacca and Samudera to maintain supplies and security of the armadas. Consolidation of the China-Malacca link come in 1405 when the Ming emperor assigned an engraved inscription to Malacca for "the mountain protecting the country," and perhaps today's Bukit Cina. Zheng he and other traveled to Malacca again in 1408 and in 1411, Parameswara himself traveled to China on the returning ships of Zheng he's third expedition. The embassy headed by Parameswara included has family members and attendants, and totaled 540 persons. In exchange for his presents to Ming emperor, he was given 2,600 string of copper cash, huge amount of paper money, a gold and jade belt, silk gowns, thousands of bolts silk, as well as gold and silver bullion. At this time the growing strengths of Malacca, as Java complained to the Chinese court in 1411 that Malacca was seeking to annex the territory of Palembang. The Malaccan ruler appears to have wanted to consolidate his own control over the strategic straits. While relation continue to improve between Malacca and China, the Ming expeditions found that they were not being welcomed in all places they visited. The Chinese force were engaged in military actions in Java in 1407, in fighting against a contender for power in Sumatera in 1414, in East Africa in 1419, and in the most serious case-the Sri Lanka.(Groff 1999: p. 8)
When the third expedition on its return journey arrived in Sri Lanka in 1411, the Ming forces fought a major battle against the army of Alagakkonara, the ruler of the Ravigama kingdom in Sri Lanka, capture the ruler and his family and sent them under escort to Chinese court. Meanwhile, the links between Malacca and the Ming burgeoned, with envoys being exchanged virtually annually. Parameswara's nephew went to the Ming court in 1411 and Zheng He escorted him home the following year. In 1411, an envoy to china sent by Megat Iskandar Shah, the son of Parameswara, advice that his father had died. Thus passed the founder of Malacca port-polity.(Groff 1999: p. 8)
The growing power of the Malacca attracted the attention of Siam, and again in 1419 Siam threatened the new port city. Warning from China of folly of such action, but again in 1431 envoys from Malacca advised that Siam had prevented the ruler of Malacca from travelling to China. In the early of 1420s, a new king of Malacca arrived in China on a visit to the Ming court. He was named Sri Maharaja, a very Indic title. This title, like the name Parameswara, does not occur in the Malaysian History, which was written after Islamic historiography was introduced to the peninsula. Sri Maharaja and his brother went to China again in 1434.(Groff 1999: p. 9)
By the time the Yung-lo emperor had died, many of the imperatives which had given rise to the long-distance ocean voyages had disappeared, and the Chinese court had anther issues on which to spend its time and money. Also, the prominent role of the eunuchs in the imperial administration was being increasingly challenged by the formal bureaucracy, and the combination of these factors resulted in the major state-sponsored voyages being ended. That is not to say that diplomatic contacts between Malacca and the Ming court ended in the mid-1430s. Over the next 70 years, prior to the fall of Malacca to the Portuguese in 1510, envoys from Malacca to travel to china, but it appears that many of the visits were as much trade missions as diplomatic embassies. Chinese envoys to Malacca were sent only for the inauguration of the new rulers. The officially-sponsored voyages having ended, maritime trade and transport between China and South-East Asia was gradually taken over by the private Chinese traders, despite the prohibitions which existed at various times.(Groff 1999: p. 9)

The Historical Legacy
Within South East Asia, the memories of Zheng He are maintained within Chinese community through oral tradition and through temples dedicated to "San-bao." The Sam Po Kong temple in Malacca was dedicated to the Admiral. It was named after a fish that miraculously saved the admiral's ship from sinking after it had been hit by a storm enroute to Malacca from China. The fish mysteriously placed itself against a damaged hull preventing the ship from taking on water. There are other temple in Penang and Semarang Java.(Groff 1999: p. 7)
The Dugong has probably never been common in Malaya waters. Cantor ( Cantor, 1846: p. 274) says that in his time it was not at all numerous round Singapore, and fairly scarce furthers north, though it had been observed in a few instances in the estuary of the Muda River, between Kedah and Province Wellesley. It is certainly not common on the coasts of Malaya now, but occasional specimens turn up at intervals. A fine male, about 8 1/2 feet long, was stranded on Pulau Tekong, at the eastern entrance to the Johore Strait, in January 1924 and is now represented by a papier-mâché cast in the Raffles Museum. More recently an 8-foot specimen, which had been dead for several days, was washed on the beach at Telok Paku, at the East End of the island, on 29 August 1949. According to Banks (Bank, 1932: p. 12) the Dugong was formerly fairly plentiful on the rockier parts of the Sarawak coast, particularly near Tanjong Datu where it was sufficiently plentiful to be worth hunting. He also says that it is sometimes taken in fish traps in the Limbang and Lawas districts on the south shore of Brunei Bay. According to records, the last dugong spotted in Malaysian waters was in 1974 in Sabah.
Worldwide, the dugong is listed under the 1996 IUCN - the World Conservation Union - Red List of Threatened Animals as being vulnerable to extinction. Dugongs are protected by other Commonwealth legislation such as the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975. The Queensland Government's Nature Conservation Act 1992 lists dugongs as 'vulnerable to extinction' in the State's waters. And in Malaysia, dugong are protected under Section 27 of Wildlife Protection Act 1985(FA)which cover aquatic mammals like dugong and whale. While we do not know how many dugongs lives in these water in the past- and though we do not know the marine mammals are much less common today- there is no denying that the condition of the Strait has deteriorated. The once vibrant corals, lush seagrass beds and the pristine water are becoming harder and harder to find.
Recently, thousands of Malaysians was captivated by the emotional parting of 'Si Tenang' the dugong. Its captor, fisherman Atan Husin putting up a struggle with the authorities to keep Si Tenang, at least until it had been cured of its injuries, was freed about 50 meters from the kelong where it had been kept. Under section 64 of the Wildlife Protection Act, it is an offence to catch, keep or kill the mammal. Offenders are liable to a maximum fine of RM5,000 or three years jail, or both. The dugong was caught by Atan about 100 meters offshore Kampung Pasir Putih. He found it trapped in a fishing net he had cast near his kelong . After 3 days of its release, the female calf was found belly-up, at the same place where she was kept almost as a family member for 42 days. Her nose was swollen, there were several new cuts on her body and blood had oozed from an old wound above her left eye. As the news spread, crowds of people started arriving to "pay their last respects" to the loveable creature. A "funeral" was also intended to bury her on the shore for remembrances.
Fisheries Sources Protection Unit later carry out a post-mortem on the carcass and found that the organ of the calf was in bad condition, the stomach did not contain much food while the small stomach contain only liquid. The same result was obtained from an examination on a female and a male dugong wash up the nearby shore. An average adult consumes an estimated 25-40 kilograms a day depending on size. Marine algae are also consumed when seagrass is scarce. Dugongs have poor eyesight but they find seagrass with the aid of coarse, sensitive bristles which cover their large and fleshy snout.
Loss Of Habitat
Often an abundance of algae grow on nets and wooden structure of the kelong. The Malay word kelong compose of attap-roofed wooden house surrounded by cages used to rear brackish water fish. The operator usually stays in the stilt house or visits offshore fish farm. Kelong, lift nets are use to catch fishes that are attracted by the lights placed above the nets at night. An ultimate kelong, located at Mersing was about 100 feet long and 70 feet wide. Marine life in search of food attracted to the kelong could easily get enslaved in them with no escape especially when the tide is low. Turtle, dolphin and dugong often fallen victim to kelong and found trapped, starved and dead.
Depletion Of Sea Grass
The mammal is diminishing rapidly in Malaysian waters due to the depletion of sea grass by human activities such as fishing and pollution. The mangrove forests which line the coasts are also threaten by further loss with the increase pollution. University of Malaya estimated that fisheries derive form mangrove alone worth RM1.36 billion from Malaysia while from Sumatra, the figure is RM 631 million. As such they put the average value of the coastal area at RM11.8 million per km length, with the Malaysian shoreline having a higher value of RM14.1 million per km length. The total value of marine resources in the Strait of Melacca is estimated at RM2.7 billion.( Gunalan, 1999)
Table 1: Valuation Of Coastal And Marine Resources Of The Malacca Straits

Indonesia coastline
Malaysian coastline
Singapore coastline
Straits- wide






Coral reefs




Sea Lanes


Sources:GEF/UNDP/IMO Regional Program for the Prevention and Management of Marine Pollution in the East Asian Seas.
Fishing And Aqua Culture
The fishing industry of Malaysia is substantially concentrated in the Malacca Strait. Nearly 70% of fisherman in an estimated 139 fishing villages in Peninsular Malaysia are located in the western corridor. The number of fishing crafts that operate along the shores of the Malacca Strait is twice that compared to the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. In 1993 the estimated cumulative number of fishing gears in operation in the western corridor was 220,205. This consisted of trawl nets, purse seine, drift/gill nets, barrier nets, push/scoop nets, hooks and lines and shellfish collecting devices.(See Fig. 1 below) Fig.1 : Fishing Gears In Operation, 1993 - Western Corridor Peninsular Malaysia
Negeri Sembilan
Note: TN=Trawl net; PS=Purse Seine; DGN=Drift/Gill Net; HL=Hooks&Lines; BN=Bag net; BRN=Barrier net;PSN=Push/Scoop net; SC=Shellfish collecting device. Source: Annual Fisheries Statistics 1993 - Department of Fisheries.
Trawl nets average 38 meters long; purse seine between 550 - 650 meters and drift/gill nets between 830 - 930 meters. For these three classes of fishing gear about 116,700 kilometers of nets area available for casting in the Malacca Strait within the Malaysian sector alone; though it is highly unlikely that all of these nets will be deployed at the same time. While fishing is showing signs of declining output, aqua culture is experiencing rapid growth. In 1993, in the Malaysian sector alone, aqua culture comprising of fish pond and cockle rearing has taken up over 5700hectares of the Malacca Strait; and fish cages, mussel and oyster beds occupied nearly 70,000 sq. meters.
Sea Reclamation
Clearing of land and a variety of other agricultural activities in river catchment can increase the amount of silt washing into the sea, particularly after heavy rains. The dumping of dredge wastes and the discharge of silt from coastal rivers reduce the amount of light available to seagrass communities, thereby limiting their growth. According to the United Nation Environment Program, over 70% of marine pollution originate on land. With a combined catchment area of 250,000sq km, both Malaysia and Indonesia release a significant amount of water into the Straits.(Meng Yew Choong, 1999: p. 9) Along the coasts, activities like dredging, mangrove clearing, land reclamation and erosion help destroy marine life habitat. While land based sources of pollution include all form of domestic and industrial waste like untreated sewage, palm oil mill effluents, agrochemical runoff, and oil.
The multi-billion-ringgit sea reclamation project along a 40km stretch of the coast in Malacca will start by September 1999 after the state government obtains the final environment impact assessment report from the Department of Environment. Chief Minister Datuk Seri Abu Zahar Isnin said the project involved the reclamation of 2,835ha of sea land and 300ha of sea front, which would either transform into peninsulas or island. It is found that the project would badly affect the livelihood of fisherman, erode the shoreline and destroy marine life unless an environmental management plan was implemented to mitigate the effects. The report caution that the project would result in the loss of four major turtle sanctuaries, mangroves forest, long term topographical changes and coastal erosion, sedimentation and pollution caused by drainage diversion work. It also warned of noise pollution, possible oil spills and fuel leaks from barges involved in the project, resulting in alteration of turtle migratory patterns and destruction of marine breeding grounds.( Rajah, 1999: p. 14) The EIA recommended several measure to mitigate coastal, marine and social-economic impact. They include:
replanting other plant species to create green areas and fast-growing trees to create a buffer;
the clearing of vegetation be supervised and curried out in phases to allow birds and animals to move to safer ground;
re-deploying affected fisherman to labor gathering activities in the project to train them for off shore fishing;
an environment system based on ISO 14001 be developed for the entire coastal are to ensure shoreline were properly managed;
and developing an emergency response for high-risk area like Petronas refinery.
(Source:Capt. Raja Malik Kamaruzaman,1999)
The state government promised that it would find an amicable solution for fisherman affected by coastal reclamation projects. Chief Minister Datuk Seri Abu Zahar Isnin said the government had met the 17 developers involve to resolve problem affecting the fishing community. There is a protest by some 60 fisherman whose landing area at Kota Laksamana would be effected by the reclamation work. The fishing community had been using the jetty for 20 years. ( Rajah, 1999: p. 14)
Collision And Displacement With Vessels
Some 600 ships use the Malacca Strait daily, ranging from traditional sailing ships, pleasure crafts and fishing vessels whose courses are unpredictable; large tankers are confined to the deep water routes which meanders through the Strait; bulk carriers and tankers in ballast with sluggish steering capability sometimes using the deep water route; most of the time hugging the coastline, container ships with high cruising speed; hard pressed to arrive at their destined terminals just in time; smaller petroleum, chemical and gas tankers feeding depots around the region from the main refineries, tow-boats and barges requiring plenty of sea-room to maneuver, passenger ferries crossing the Strait and cruises to nowhere and the rest.
Masters in charge of each of the above classes of vessels defines their own limits of safety which leads to the interpretation of safety being relative and subjective. Relative because the levels of safety tend to be accepted on the basis of comparison over a threshold that is deemed unsafe. Subjective because there is a wide variance in the interpretation of safety and the choice of accepting a particular standard varies from criteria used, the circumstances and in most cases opinion. The bottom line is a conviction that a safe environment is in place. What then is the convincing factors? An accident free environment would certainly support the notion of a perfectly safe surrounding. In this situation, measures to further improve safety may not justify the costs associated. A ship, regardless of its type, size or the activity she is engaged in; docked, berthed, anchored, laid-up, steaming or even under construction carries with it inherent risks where a casualty can develop into a catastrophe. Recent events associated with the development of liability regimes along with the introduction of mandatory insurance schemes bears testimony to this. In essence, more ships mean more risks. When such ships are concentrated at choke points, a bottleneck with multiple risk situation arise, which is being further aggravated by the presence of other conflicting marine activities such as fishing, dredging, port operations, surveying, yachting, exploration and resource exploitation. (Source:Capt. Raja Malik Kamaruzaman,1999)
The Malacca Strait has, within its limits, such ingredients to make it a high-risk area for navigation. It is not surprising that in a recent survey more than 80% of masters of VLCCs (Very Large Cargo Carriers) responded that they are duly worried when transitting the Strait. For centuries, concerns on safety of navigation have been focus on issues of security, loss of lives and property. Currently of growing significance is the concern for environment protection.
Every year, an estimated US $1 trillion worth of goods and services pass through the region formed by the Straits of Malacca and other associated shipping routes like the Straits of Makasar and Lombak, in addition to South China Sea. For every ship that passes through, there is a risk of an accident and spills from cargo. Coupled with the rush hour traffic of ships, from 1978 to 1994, a total of 476 accidents, including oil spills were reported. That is an average of 30 incidents per year.( Gunalan, 1999) Boating and shipping also create hazards for dugongs. Dugongs may be killed or injured when struck by any part of a vessel and may also be scared away from their feeding areas by vessel traffic. In some circumstances, stress is suspected of contributing to illness in dugongs. It can be difficult for people travelling in a vessel to detect dugongs in the cloudy inshore waters of the reef, so skippers should be aware that dugongs may be nearby and should travel slowly in these areas. (Source:Capt. Raja Malik Kamaruzaman,1999)
The number of oil tankers plying the Straits increased four folds between 1979 and 1997, which suggest a persistent risk of oil spill. The sheer number of ship plying the Straits also increase the amount of non-accidental oil discharge occurred when routine maintenance requires pumping out bilge water and to a certain extent, ballast water. A preliminary study has shown that vessels plying the Straits by year 2000 will generate 888,000 tones of waste. This waste will comprise 150,000 tones of oily bilgewater sludge, 18 tones of solid waste and 720,000 tones of sewage. The Straits is exhibiting a somewhat eutrophic (enrich with nutrients) state judging from the relative high value of particulate organic carbon in the sea water of Port Dickson compare with Kuala Terengganu's on the east coast. Port Dickson waters contain nitrogen-rich suspended organic particles which, is suggestive of man-made pollution. Scientists have also detected mercury levels in the Straits which are higher then those of the Kuala Terengganu- both in the water as well as the sea bed. Several fish caught off Sepang Selangor, have residual of copper, zinc and lead exceeding permissible levels due to the heavy metal pollution of seawater.(Gunalan, 1999)
Table 2: Mishap in the Straits of Malacca

Types of Casualty (1978-1994)
% Share



Sprang Leak/Engine Trouble



There are problems in obtaining accurate shipping statistics in the Malacca Strait because through traffic need not report at any calling stations. The Port of Singapore Authority provides a VTIS (Vessel Traffic Information Service) where ship reporting is on a voluntary basis and limited to certain calling points; thus a comprehensive figure is still elusive. Quantifying traffic density is made that much harder when ships do not follow specific routes except at portions of the Strait with traffic separation schemes. The difficulty of quantifying traffic density is compounded with many cross traffic and the presence of hundreds of fishing vessels plus an unknown number of traditional small crafts. The statistical discrepancy is also contributed by the fact that not all ships using the Strait call at the ports of the bordering States and neither do all ships calling at these ports uses the whole stretch of the Strait. This paper attempt to collate available statistics to present the number of ships or shipping movements which contribute to congestion at confined channels of the Strait. In 1994 the total number of ships calling at the ports along the Strait that has been assumed to pass by such confine channels (e.g. around One Fathom Bank Lighthouse, off Port Dickson, Philip Channel, and Middle Channel off Horsburgh Lighthouse) was 122,060. (Source:Capt. Raja Malik Kamaruzaman,1999)(See Fig. 2 bellow).
Fig. 2 : Number Of Ships Calling At Ports Along The Malacca Strait Ports

Peninsular Malaysia
. Port Kelang
. Port Dickson
. Malacca including Sungai Udang
. Lumut
. Penang
East Coast Sumatra
. Lhokseumawe
. Belawan
. Dumai
Riau Archipelago
. Batam
Source : Marine Dept. Malaysia, Public Port Corporation Belawan Indonesia and Port of Singapore Authority.
Fig. 3 : Maritime Causalities In The Malacca Strait 1975-1995

Fig. 4 : Nature of Maritime Causalities in Malacca Strait 1975-1995

An analysis of the types of ships involved in a maritime casualty (see Fig.5) indicate that almost every type of ship plying the strait are prone to accidents with general cargo ships topping the list at 53.13%, followed by tankers at 20.59% bulk carrier at 6.72%, fishing craft at 4.41%, container ship at 2.94% and liquefied gas carriers at 1.68%. The gravity of the situation is the seriousness of many causalities with regard to loss of lives, pollution damage and loss of earnings for the dependence of the Strait. (Source:Capt. Raja Malik Kamaruzaman,1999)

Fig. 5 : Reported Casualties By Type Of Vessels 1978 - 1994

Type of Vessel
General Cargo
Bulk Carrier
Container Ship
Liquefied Gas Tanker
Ore Carrier
Landing Craft
Roro Cargo
Supply Ship
Tug/Supply Ship
Vehicle Carrier
Livestock Carrier
Aggregate Carrier
Barge Carrier
Cable Layer
Crane Pontoon
Drilling Ship
Processing Tanker
Refrigerated Cargo
Utility Vessel

Source : LMIS/collation at MIMA

Between 1975 to 1995 where a detail regarding ages and sizes were available, out of 475 casualties, nearly 80% (370) were ships over 20 years age. Ships below 10,000 tonnage recorded nearly 70% (324) of the casualty statistic. (see Fig.6). Fig. 6 : Maritime Causalities In The Malacca Strait 1975-1995 According To Age Limits
An examination of the casualty data in Malacca Strait between 1975 and 1995 illuminates the following observations -
serious accidents have occurred in high traffic density areas as well as in open sea areas with mild traffic condition;
the risks posed by small crafts must not be underestimated; large ships have sank after colliding with such crafts; file explosion and pollution have resulted from accidents between small and large ships;
almost all types of ships have their share of the causality statistics; properly, constructed, equipped and maintained alone does not guarantee safety;
age of ship is a significant factor; ships over 20 years old account for 78% of the total casualties;
ships between 500 and 10,000 tones account for 56% of the total casualties; such ships have less than 10 meters draft and can elect for the shortest routes with minimal course alterations; and
it can be concluded that the human element is the most important factor and that voluntary adherence to international safety standards and procedures have lead to a situation of "waiting for an accident to happen" in the Strait.
Risk Assessment
The consultant to the Malaysian sea surveillance system project Mr. S. Naipul, made a comparison of accident records in the Malacca Strait with the distribution of accidents due to collisions in different categories of waterways classified under open sea; harbor; restricted waters; others (e.g. locks), compiled by Norske Veritas 1980, indicated that the potential for collision within the Malacca Strait is higher than that of a confined "Harbor" area in the probabilities as shown in Fig.7.
Further, the distributions of accident records exhibit characteristics between that of a "Harbor" and "Restricted Waters". Implications are that all users of the waterway may not be maintaining the vigilance that is expected when navigating in the Strait. It could therefore be claimed that existing measures based on a voluntary adherence to international rules and procedures are not being followed by all users and hence contribute to the risks. (Source:Capt. Raja Malik Kamaruzaman,1999) Fig. 7 : Collision Statistics Malacca Strait 1975 - 1995 As Compared With Norske Veritas Collision Statistics In Various Navigable Waterways (1980)
Fishing Practices And Netting
Dugongs have become entangled and drowned in certain types of nets. Dugongs can only hold their breath for a maximum of eight minutes, and will drown quickly once entangled in a net. Many dugongs die in turtle and shark nets annually and others are harpooned for their meat. As a result, the setting of certain nets in sanctuaries has been prohibited or restricted. According to the Fisheries Department, commercial trawlers and purse seine fishing nets are prohibited in water less then 12 nautical miles from Malaysian shores to protect small scales traditional fisherman from unfair competition. That in turn protect seabed which sustain many fish species, Most seagrass beds in Malaysia are located within the same 12 miles zone. If trawlers were allowed in they would uproot the bed because they drag the net along the seabed.
Dugong Myths and Legends
Prehistorically painting of dugong in a limestone cave in Tanbum, Perlis proof that dugongs were known way back then- ikan duyung (mermaid fish ). Dugong movements are slow and graceful. Their streamlined bodies and the large teats at the base of their flippers created the illusion of mermaids in the minds of early explorers and sailors.(Bank, 1931: p. 9)
Indigenous Hunting
DUGONGS (from Malay "duyung" according to the Collins English Dictionary, 1991 third edition ) are the only Indo-Pacific Sirenia specie alive today, occurred in limited numbers in various locations of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Papua-New Guinea, Philippines and Australia. Fishermen of Aru Islands sell dugong tears (airmata duyung) as an aphrodisiac. A dead Dugong, if fresh enough, has a number of uses. The meat is said to be excellent eating and to taste rather like fine quality pork. The Malays consider the congealed mucous secretion of the eyelids to be a valuable love potion. The hide, which is nearly an inch thick, makes very good leather when properly treated, and if cut up fresh and boiled can be converted into glue. The ivory tusks of the male are used for knife handles, and in Australia the bones are said to provide an excellent charcoal for refining sugar. Finally, the oil from the blubber layer was formerly of considerable value.(Bennett, 1860: p.10)
Commercial hunting of the Dugong, which occurred mostly in Australian waters, was based on the value of the oil. According to Bennett ( Bennett, 1860: p. 165) a full-grown adult yields 10-12 gallons; Banks ( Bank, 1931: p. 12) puts the figure at 10 gallons and Troughton (Troughton, 1941: p. 243) at 6 gallons. The oil first became popular shortly before 1860. Bennett, writing in that year, says that it was being used by medical practitioners at Brisbane, in Queensland, in place of cod-liver oil. It was thought that it possessed the same therapeutic qualities, combine ed with a more pleasant taste. Shortly afterwards the idea gained ground that it might be of value in the treatment of lung complaints, including tuberculosis, and a leading firm of Australian chemists ordered a 1,000 gallons at three guineas a gallon. Fortunately the price began to drop after a time, and by 1895 it was down to twelve shillings a gallon. This reduced the incentive to slaughter, and probably saved the Dugongs from extinction in Australian waters. There is nothing, it may be remarked, to show that the oil is really any more valuable medically than the blubber of any of the seals, whales or dolphins.
3. Related Cases
4. Draft Author:
Sharina Gan Suat Ling ( 1 September, 1999)

II. Legal Clusters
5. Discourse and Status: Disagree and In progress
Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore are now working on a safer navigation system and on cleanliness in the Straits. They have drawn up a Regional Program for Prevention and Management of Marine Pollution in the East Asian Seas under the auspices of Global Environment Faculty, United Nations development Program and International Maritime Organization. These countries consider making the Straits a "special area", one in which absolutely no discharge of bilge or oil is allowed. Right now, international law permits a limited amount of discharge in the open sea. The proposal will also expedite setting up waste receptor facilities as required under the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution From Ships 1973/78. In Malaysia, only the Pasir Gudang port in Johor has the facility to handle oily waste l8ike bilge and oil sludge from tanker cleaning.
6. Forum and Scope: Legal matter and Region
7. Decision Breadth: Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore
8. Legal Standing: Treaty.
Ocean Based Pollution
Under the International Convention for the Safety of the Sea, 1974 arose after a high number of incidents in the 1990s, often with complete loss of crew on board. In 1990, 20 bulk carriers, often described as the workhorses of the maritime trade with their cargoes of iron ore, grains and coal, were lost with 94 fatalities, and in 1991, 24 vessels and 154 lives were lost. A study revealed that the most vulnerable areas were the bulkheads between numbers one and two holds at the double bottom of the ship at this location. It is recommended that during special surveys of ships, particular attention is paid to these areas and reinforcements are carried out where necessary. The International Maritime Organization is reviewing whether further steps will be needed to enhance bulk carrier safety following a report by Britain on the sinking of the Derbyshine in 1980. A number of amendments came into force on July 1, including a requirement to ensure passenger ships carrying 400 or more people could survive without capsizing with two main compartments flooded.
Discharge of Sewage
Annex V of the International Convention on Prevention of Pollution from Ship 1973/78 (Marpol), ships are equipped with incinerators to treat combustible waste. Waste food is send to the grinder while paper material is channeled to the incinerators which are also designed to burn sludge. The ashes are ten disposed at sea. Under Marpol, garbage includes all kinds of food domestic and operational waste generated during the normal operation of vessel and liable to be disposed of continuously or periodically expect for oil, sewage or noxious liquid substances. Every ship of 400 gross tones and above and every ship certified to carry 15 persons or more should have a garbage management plan which crew should follow.
MARPOL 73/78 as amended on 30 October 1992, was done at London, 17 February 1978 which began enforcement on 1 July 1992.
Regulation 9
(1) Subject to the provisions of Regulation 9 of this Annex, the discharge of sewage into the sea is prohibited, except when:
(a) the ship is discharging comminuted and disinfected sewage using a system approved by the Administration in accordance with Regulation 3(1)(a) at a distance of more than four nautical miles from the nearest land, or sewage which is not comminuted or disinfected at a distance of more than 12 nautical miles from the nearest land, provided that in any case, the sewage that has been stored in holding tanks shall not be discharged instantaneously but at a moderate rate when the ship is en route and proceeding at not less than 4 knots; the rate of discharge shall be approved by the Administration based upon standards developed by the Organization; or
(b) the ship has in operation an approved sewage treatment plant which has been certified by the Administration to meet the operational requirements referred to in Regulation 3(1)(a)(i) of this Annex, and (i) the test results of the plant are laid down in the ship's International Sewage Pollution Prevention Certificate (1973); (ii) additionally, the effluent shall not produce visible floating solids in, nor cause discoloration of, the surrounding water; or
(c) the ship is situated in the waters under the jurisdiction of a State and is discharging sewage in accordance with such less stringent requirements as may be imposed by such State.
(2) When the sewage is mixed with wastes or wastewater having different discharge requirements, the more stringent requirements shall apply.
Regulation 9:Exceptions
Regulation 8 of this Annex shall not apply to: (a) the discharge of sewage from a ship necessary for the purpose of securing the safety of a ship and those on board or saving life at sea; or (b) the discharge of sewage resulting from Convention undertakes to ensure the provision of facilities at ports and terminals for the reception of sewage, without using undue delay to ships, adequate to meet the needs of the ships using them.
(2) The Government of each Party shall notify the Organization for transmission to the Contracting Governments concerned of all cases where the facilities provided under this Regulation are alleged to be inadequate. ( This data access service is provided by the Consortium for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), which operates the Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) for the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).)
Vessel Pollution
The main instruments for the control of vessel pollution are the Merchant Shipping Ordinance, 1952 and the Merchant Shipping (Oil Pollution) Act,1993 while the Environmental Quality Act 1974(EQA), is the foremost instrument for addressing land-based pollution. There are discrepancies in the EQA with regard to marine pollution as well as difficulty in enforcement with reference to non-point source of pollution. While the Act provides for the protection for soil from pollution, the seabed and its subsoil are not specifically included in the definition. To date the water of four islands in the Straits have been gazette as marine parks under the 1985 Fisheries Act, but the land masses come under stated jurisdiction, island are preview of stated authorities. Developers only need approval of stated authorities in developing islands-which will creates pollution that harm coral reefs under the Fisheries department's protection if the island is part of marine park. Acknowledged weakness of marine parks has its roots in the country's constitution. Coral reefs and seagrass bed managed by the Fisheries department, coastal area , sandy beach and the mudflat responsibility of local council.(Mohd Nizam Basiron, 1995)
Navigational Safety In The Strait Of Malacca
Using the risk analysis methods under the Malaysian Sea Surveillance System Project to examine ship encounters navigation risks, it was concluded that -
vessels less than 100 tones were sensitive to the weather and visibility conditions and therefore has higher risk of stranding;
larger vessels are sensitive to grounding due to unfavorable depth/draft ratios;
end on / nearly end on and overtaking encounters occur more frequently than crossing encounters;
crossing and merging encounters are more dangerous than meeting encounter by a factor between 6 to 8; and
small crafts and fishing vessels are prone to engine breakdown and encounter difficulties in adverse weather condition.
The most treacherous waters of the Strait lie between Horsburgh Lighthouse and One Fathom Bank Lighthouse which stretches some 217 miles. The remaining 500 miles appears to have an open sea environment. Since masters are free to draw courses the obvious tendency is to elect for the shortest route which in turn will result in many ships with reciprocal courses meeting head-on overtaking within a narrow beam of the fairway on similar course. Within the 217 miles stretch studies conducted under the sea surveillance project identified high-risk areas (see Fig.8) on the basis of the following-
traffic density and sea room;
routing conflicts of ship types leading to high encountering probabilities - crossing, overtaking and end-on situations;
presence of conflicting activities such as fishing, port operations, etc.;
and presence of navigational hazards such as wrecks, shoals, etc; and location of casualties also accounts for this risk distribution.
(Source:Capt. Raja Malik Kamaruzaman,1999)

Fig. 8 : High Risk Areas In The Malacca Strait
Managing Traffic On 1 May 1981 the routing system adopted under the auspices of IMO by resolution A375(X) in 1977 and amended in 1979 by A476(XII) came into force. The routing system introduces traffic separation schemes (TSS) off One Fathom Bank Lighthouse, in the Singapore Strait and off Horsburgh Light House. (see Fig. 9). Until 1993 no serious casualty was reported to have occurred within the limits of these TSS. However, a number of casualties have occurred in areas outside the schemes, most of them serious. In May 1994 the collision between the tanker Damansara and the bulk carrier Ming Wisdom in the TSS at the western approaches of the Singapore Strait present the first serious maritime casualty within this routing system followed by the grounding of Arktis Island perilously close to the One Fathom Bank Lighthouse in August 1994. The TSS established in 1981 appeared to have effective in curbing accidents within its limits, at least up to 1993. The collision between the chemical tanker Eastern Bliss and the bulk carrier Samrat Ashok off Port Dickson in May 1995 flared up the debate on the sufficiency of existing schemes which are confined to pockets of the Strait and implemented in a passive manner lacking in surveillance, monitoring and policing.
Fig. 9: Traffic Separation Scheme Adopted Under Res. A375(x)1977
In the light of this situation Malaysia had proposed, with support from Indonesia and Singapore a review of the TSS schemes and the related rules for navigation in the Strait. Such a review will look into the necessity of-
extending and connecting existing TSS;
providing designated crossing points;
introducing precautionary areas;
separating through traffic from port traffic; and
improving the existing voluntary ship reporting system.
An expanded TSS that stretches half the length of the Malacca Strait (about 240 miles with the Singapore Strait included) would make it the longest scheme to be adopted by IMO. (See Fig.10). An orderly flow of sea traffic over such a long stretch of water is essential, especially with the complex traffic pattern of the Strait, comprising of transit traffic, stop-over traffic, crossing traffic, fishing, exploration and recreation traffic. The maintenance of order and traffic discipline is made even more demanding with reduced visibility in the event of heavy showers and of late - haze. A passive system which is completely dependent on voluntary adherence to international rules has not been reassuring and thus there is a need to have in place a more responsive traffic monitoring and management system.
Vessel Traffic System (VTS)
The VTS has been recognized as an effective tool that contributes towards significant risk reduction in a busy waterway. It is a service with the capability to interact with traffic and to respond to traffic situation developing in a VTS area and must, therefore, be operated in an efficient manner with full time operational control centers, staffed with properly trained personnel and equipped with reliable devices to gather information on vessel movements and navigation hazards through radar, VHF radios and communications with ships. Through the provision of information from shore-based control centers to the mariners in the waterway the VTS will contribute towards a well-informed decision making process for safe navigation. With close monitoring it will be instrumental in preventing a close-quarters situation from developing into a catastrophic accident.

Fig.10 : Propose Extension Of Existing TSS And Provision Of Deep Water Route
The Malaysian VTS system currently being implemented is expected to be operational in 1997. Together with the Singapore VTIS the radar coverage will extend the entire stretch of the normal routes in the Malacca Strait (off One Fathom Bank southwards) including the Singapore Strait. (See Fig. 11). The VTS is seen as an essential component in the implementation of ship's routing in the Malacca Strait. However, co-operation is the key element in the successful implementation of any VTS and users must do so by providing certain essential information. This has been recognized with the proposed adoption of mandatory ship reporting under Chapter V of the 1974 SOLAS Convention. An essential consideration for the acceptance of the expanded TSS is that the channels identified must be safe and free from obstructions including interference from vessels that should avoid the schemes. Ships using such channels must be able to position itself accurately; precise navigation in all weather conditions is crucial. Thus there is a dire need to provide the related complementary services and the establishment of support facilities to -
survey the Strait and update nautical charts;
introduce new navigational aids and improve existing ones to facilitate precise navigation;
confirm the location of wrecks and shoals;
remove or crop as necessary;
provide for adequate response capability to address pollution and other maritime catastrophes including capacity building for towage and salvage services; and
improve radio communication and navigational warning services.

Fig.11 : Area Under Radar Coverage By The Malaysian VTS
The Human Element
When a ship makes landfall off Sumatra, and passed Pulau We' to enter the Malacca Strait, it still has two days steaming to reach Singapore. After more than a day's steaming it approaches the One Fathom Bank area and still has to navigate over 200 miles of the most treacherous stretch of the Strait. This illustrates the stress which bears upon watch keepers especially the Master when transitting the Strait. The basis of preventing maritime casualties and pollution of the sea is that ships must not only be properly designed, constructed, equipped and maintained; but must also be operated by adequate number of qualified officers and trained crews. It is well recognized that the human element is a significant factor in a number of maritime casualties. Many causes and chain of events culminate to an action where human error becomes the contributing factor. Amongst which is the issue concerning fatigue, an outcome of long hours of watch keeping which can lead to a degradation of human performance, a slowing down of physical and mental reflexes and an impairment of the ability to make rational judgements.
Serious accidents that had occurred at the approaches and throughout the whole stretch of the Strait especially in open sea conditions indicated the absolute need for watch keeping of the highest caliber to be maintained throughout the Strait. In order to observe the bridge watch keeping principle of ensuring the maintenance of a safe navigational watch and also the maintenance of general surveillance of the ship, Resolution A.481 (XII) adopted by the IMO 12th.Assembly recommended that -
the bridge watch should consist of at lease one officer qualified to take charge of a navigational watch and at least one qualified or experienced seaman;
the provision of qualified deck officers should be such that it is not necessary for the master to keep regular watches;
a three watch system should be adopted; and
where the bridge watches consists of one officer and one seaman, there should be the capability to provide schedules. The situation is compounded for deep draft vessels whose navigation must be precise, more so when such vessels require staging in order to avail of the "tidal window" at specified target time over areas of critical controlling depths. To illustrate the precision required, transits must be timed to pass such controlling areas not more than 30 minutes either side of high water. This may give rise to compromising the interpretation of safe speed under the International Regulations for Preventing further assistance at any time if the officer of the watch requires additional help and such assistance should be readily available and fit for duty.
Ship with only three watch-keepers including the master when transitting the Strait would be hard pressed to meet the principles of bridge watch-keeping and cause their officers to work on very strenuous Collisions at Sea 1972. (Source:Capt. Raja Malik Kamaruzaman,1999)
Rules For Vessels Navigating Through The Straits Of Malacca And Singapore
The aforementioned routing measures will be implemented at UTC on 1December 1998. For the purpose of these Rules the following definitions shall apply:
1. A vessel having a draught of 15 meters or more shall be deemed to be a deep draught vessel.
2. A tanker of 150,000 dwt and above shall be deemed to be very large crude carrier (VLCC).
Note: The above definitions do not prejudice the definitions of " vessel constrained by her draught " describe in Rule 3(h) of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972.
General Provisions
1. Deep draught vessels and VLCCs shall allow for an under keel clearance of at least 3.5 meters at all times during the entire passage through the Straits of Malacca and Singapore and shall also take all necessary safety precautions, when navigating through the traffic separation schemes.
2. Master of deep draught vessels and VLCCs shall have particular regard to navigational constraints when planning their passage through the Straits.
3. All deep draught vessels and VLCCs navigating within the traffic separation schemes are recommended to use the pilotage service of the respective countries when they become available.
4. Vessels shall take into account the precautionary areas where crossing traffic may be encountered and be in a maximum state of maneuvering realness in these areas.
Rule 1: Eastbound deep draught vessels shall use the designated deep-water routes.
Rule 2: Eastbound deep draught vessels navigating in the deep-water routes in Phillip Channel and Singapore Strait shall as far as practicable, avoid overtaking.
Rule 3: All vessels navigating within the traffic separation scheme shall proceed in the appropriate traffic lane in the general direction of traffic flow for that lane and maintain as steady a course as possible, consistent with the navigation.
Rule 4: All vessels having defects, affecting operational safety shall take appropriate measures to overcome these defects before entering the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.
Rule 5: In the event of an emergency or breakdown of a vessel in the traffic lane, it shall, as far as practicable and safe, leave the lane by pulling out to the starboard side.
Rule 6: a. Vessels proceeding in the westbound lane of the traffic separation scheme "In the Singapore Strait" when the approaching Raffles Lighthouse shall proceed with caution, taking note of the local warning system, and, compliance with Rule 18(d) of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972, avoid impending the safe passage of a vessel constrained by her draught which is exhibiting the signals required by Rule 28 and which is obliged to cross the westbound lane of the in order to approach the single point mooring facility ( in approximate position 01° 11'42N, 103° 47'.05E, from Phillip Channel ).
b. Vessels proceeding in the traffic separation schemes when approaching any of the precautionary areas shall proceed with caution, taking note of the local warning system, and, in compliance with Rule 18(d) of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972, avoid impending the safe passage of a vessel constrained by her draught which is exhibiting the signals required by Rule 28 and which is obliged to cross that precautionary area.
c. Information relating to the movement of ships constrained by their draught as referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) above will be given by radio broadcasts. The particulars of such broadcasts are promulgated by Notices to Mariners. All vessels navigating in the area of the traffic separation scheme should monitor these radio broadcasts and take account of the information received.
Rule7: VLCCs and deep draught vessels navigating in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore shall, as far as it is safe and practicable, proceed at a speed of not more than 12 knots over the ground in the following areas:
a. At One Fanthom Bank traffic separation scheme;
b. deep-water routes in the Phillip Channel and in Singapore Strait; and
c. Westbound lanes between position 01° 12'. 51N 103° 52'. 25E and 01° 11'. 59N 103° 50'. 3E and between position 01° 11'. 13N 103° 49'. 18E and 01° 08'. 65N 103° 44'. 40E
Rule 8: All vessels navigating in the traffic separation scheme shall maintain at all times a safe speed consistent with the safe navigation, shall proceed with caution. and shall be in a maximum state of maneuvering readiness.
Rule 9: a. The following classes of vessels navigating in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore are to participate in the mandatory ship reporting system adopted by the Organization, using VHF radio communication:
i . vessels of 300 GT and above;.
ii. vessels of 50 meters or more in length;
iii. vessels engage in towing or pushing with a combined GT of 300 and above, or with a combined length of 50 meters or more;
iv. vessels of any tonnage carrying hazardous and or potentially polluting cargo in accordance with the definitions in paragraph 1.4 of Resolution MSC.43 (64);
v. all passenger vessels that are fitted with VHF, regardless of length or GT; and
vi. any category of vessels less than 50 meters in length or less than 300 GT which is fitted with VHF and in an emergency, uses the appropriate traffic lane or separation zone, in order to avoid immediate danger.
b. In addition, VLCCs and deep draught vessels navigating in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore are advised to broadcast, eight hours before entering the traffic separation schemes, navigational warnings giving names, deadweight tonnage, draught, speed and times of passing One Fanthom Bank Lighthouse, Raffles Lighthouse and Horsburgh Lighthouse. Difficult and unwidely tows are also advised to broadcast similar warnings.
Rules 10: All vessels navigating in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore are requested to report by radio to the nearest shore authority any damage to or malfunction of the aids to navigation in the Straits, or any aids out of positions in the Straits.
Rules 11: Flag States, owners and operators should ensure that their vessels are adequately equipped in accordance with the appropriate international conventions/ recommendations.
Mandatory Ship Reporting System In The Straits Of Malacca And Singapore – STRAITREP
1.The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted the Mandatory Ship Reporting System in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore known as "STRAITREP" as proposed by Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
2.The objectives of the STRAITREP are as follows:
a) to enhance the safety of navigation;
b) to protect the marine environment;
c) to facilitate the movements of vessels; and
d) to support SAR and oil pollution response operations.
3.The STRAITREP will come into force on 0000 hours UTC on 1 December 1998. Masters of vessels, to which STRAITREP is applicable, are advised to comply with the requirements of the adopted ship reporting system, in accordance with regulation V/8-1(h) of the International Convention of the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, as amended in 1994. A copy of the SN/Circ.201 (i.e. description of the Mandatory Ship Reporting System in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore – STRAITREP) adopted by IMO and the corrigendum are available attached for your compliance.
4.Every master in providing information to or receiving information from STRAITREP is not relieved from any of his duties and responsibilities as a master.
5.We strongly recommend that ship-owners forward this circular and the attachments (IMOSN/Circ.201) to their masters and deck officers for their guidance.
(Source:Lee Seng Kong, Director Of Marine, Marine And Port Authority Of Singapore.

III. Geographic Clusters
9. Geographic Locations
a. Geographic Domain: Asia
b. Geographic Site: East Asia
c. Geographic Impact: Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore
10. Sub-National Factors: yes
11. Type of Habitat: ocean
IV. Trade Clusters
12. Type of Measure: Regulatory Standard
13. Direct v. Indirect Impacts: Direct impacts
14. Relation of Trade Measure to Environmental Impact
a. Directly Related to Product: Yes. Transportation
b. Indirectly Related to Product: N/A
c. Not Related to Product: N/A
d. Related to Process: Yes. Species Loss Sea
15. Trade Product Identification: Transportation
16. Economic Data: N/A
17. Impact of Trade Restriction: High
For the user nations other than bordering States, the Malacca Strait is a single-purpose utility. It is no more than the shortest trade route from the Indian Ocean to the China Sea. The choice between transitting the Malacca Strait and the Lambok Strait for VLCCs trading between the Middle East and Northeast Asia results in a savings of about 1000 miles or about 3 days steaming. For the Japanese petroleum industry, this translates into a saving of up to US$340mil annually as 90% of the Japanese oil imports sail through the 340 sea lines along the Strait.(Choong, 1999: p. 9) The choice between the Malacca Strait and the Sunda Strait from the Cape off South Africa results in a saving of only 200 miles. Distance is not the only criteria in the selection of a route as one will also consider the benefit of an area that is better surveyed, provided with reliable navigational aids, readily available emergency response system and the availability of good support facilities such as ship chandelling, repairs, crew change and cheaper bunkers. The users derived immediate benefits from these factors. For the bordering States the Malacca Strait is of enormous importance to their economy. An efficient export and import system is essential for their economic survival. Any cost escalation along the export-import line, especially the sea leg of the transport chain will undermine the overall performance of their economy. Navigation must be safe to support port efficiency be it a hub or a feeder port. Fishing, aqua culture and marine tourism are the other industries that are significant contributors to their economy or livelihood of their citizens. Such industries present a conflict in the use of the sea-lanes for through traffic in the Strait.
18. Industry Sector: Transportation
Due to trade sector booming it is forecasted by IAPH' 99 Kuala Lumpur, that the emergence of the ultra-large container ships of up to 15,000 TEUs in the next two decades will inevitably result in a "new world" as far as traditional liner ports are concerned. This is because such vessels, being primarily designed to serve offshore transshipment mega-hubs will tend to avoid many traditional liner ports, said Alfred J. Baird Director of Maritime Transport Units, Napier University Business School, Scotland. He said it could not be ascertained for sure how many of these liner ports would fit into this evolving 'system'. Baird said many liner ports are suffering from aftershock of continual vessel upsizing and its implications including the need to deepen and widen access channels. He said other implications are requirement for longer berths, bigger and faster cranes and increased pressure on capacity-constrained landslide infrastructure resulting in traffic bottlenecks. Among ways for ports to handle bigger ships include providing more cranes, installing larger and faster cranes, increasing terminal stacking capacity, introducing more terminal automation, deepening and lengthening berths and channels and developing off-shore ports.
19. Exporters and Importers: Many and many

V. Environment Clusters
20. Environmental Problem Type: Ocean pollution
21. Name, Type, and Diversity of Species
Names: dugong dugon
Other names: Sirenia, manatee, sea-pig, sea cow
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordate
Class: Mammalia
Order: Sirenia
Family: Trichechidae
Genus: Trichechus
Species: manatus
Subspecies: latirostris
Color:Grey or grey-brown
Size:Typically 9 feet long, weighing 1,000 pounds. Can grow as large as 13 feet, weighing more than 3,000 pounds. Smallest new born about 1 meter.
Behavior:Completely harmless and non-aggressive, they are often shy and reclusive.
Vision:Depth perception may be limited. Can differentiate colors.
Hearing:Can hear very well despite the absence of external ear lobes.
Communication: Emit sounds that are within human auditory range. They make squeaks and squeals when frightened, playing or communicating, particularly between cow and calf.
Breathing:Nostrils on upper surface of snout close tightly like valves when submerged. surfaces to breathe every few minutes when active; every 10 to 15 minutes when resting.
Range/Habitat:They can be found in shallow, slow-moving rivers, estuaries, saltwater bays, canals, and coastal areas, particularly where seagrass beds flourish. They can live in fresh or salt water.
Reproduction: Normally one calf every 2 to 5 years.
Population:An estimated 1,850 remaining in the southeastern U.S. concentrated in Florida year-round.
Length: around 3 meters
Weight: around 400 kg
Mouth: strongly deflected downwards
Tail: triangular
Description: Large, seal-like body that tapers to a spatulate (beaver-like) tail. Two forelimbs with three or four nails on each thick, wrinkled skin, with stiff whiskers on upper lip. The dugong's body is torpedo shaped and is more streamlined than the manatee but less compared to the dolphin and has small flippers and whale like tail flukes. The adult dugong's color is grayish bronze which progressively becomes lighter. Baby dugongs have a deeper brown color. The skin of the adult dugong is very tough and is usually scarred. They have short stiff and fine thin hairs are sparsely distributed throughout the back but is longer and more abundant in the snout region.
Dugongs also possess tusks which are used for purely social activities like courtship, mating and fighting. The eyes of a dugong are small, round and dark, and lids with a sphincter action close them. Underwater vision is assumed to be similar to that of a masked diver. The Steller's Sea Cow was the closest relative to the Dugong. They were easily the largest of all Sirenia species of recent times and also hold the record for being the first marine mammal to become extinct in modern history. These animals used to be found on the Bering and Copper Island off the Northern Pacific. The only drawback of these gentle giants was its delicious meat that was considered to be more delicious than beef. This with the added docility of these animals made them easy targets for humans. The species was wiped out in the year 1767, only 27 years after its discovery. These giants will never be able to graze peacefully again.
The Dugong is rarely seen in herds, but family parties are not uncommon and individuals are said to remain foolishly close to their companions after the latter have been attacked and wounded. Apparently it normally rests in deeper water during the day, and comes inshore at night to feed on green seaweed. According to Tate ( Tate, 1947: p. 309) it is thought that the Dugong can distinguish easily between the red and green kinds, either by an acute sense of touch in its prehensile lips, or by a well-developed perception of flavor. Its power of vision is apparently poor, but its sense of hearing is acute. Animals beached in the open air have been found to wince at relatively faint squeaking sounds, and in the water they are easily frightened by any extraneous noises. On the whole they would seem to be defenseless and rather timid, uneasy creatures.
22. Resource Impact and Effect: High and Product
23. Urgency and Lifetime: High and 70 years
24. Substitutes: Alternative Routes. Indonesia's Lombok Straits
VI. Other Factors
25. Culture: Yes.
Baba Nyonyas
Malacca's rich historical past has provided the stated with rich legacy of relics and architectural uniqueness. Similarly, other fascinating tales are women around several other relics. The Sultan's well or Hang Li Poh' well is testimony of the arranged marriage between the Sultan Mansur Shah and the Princess Hang Li Poh who was sent by the Chinese Emperor as a token of the friendship between the two empires during the 15th century. She comes with her entourage of 500 and the Sultan present her with the hill called Bukit Cina. Today, this is the site of one of the largest Chinese cemetery outside China. The well which served the princess was endowed with special qualities and legend has it was never dry even during the driest season. The rich legacies of the Chinese have been preserved by the evolution of a unique community called the Baba Nyonyas who comprise of inter-marriages between the Chinese with the Malay. Although the Baba Nyonyas follow the custom and tradition of the Chinese, their lifestyle incorporated major elements identical to the Malays, for instance, in their dressing, spoken language and eating style.(Groff 1999: p. 8)
People Of Melaka - The Portuguese-Eurasian
Another living legacy is to be found in the Portuguese Settlement where some 100 Portuguese families remain. The Malaysian Portuguese community is a minority community and has its roots in historic Melaka. The emergence of the community began when the Portuguese captured Melaka in 1511. After the conquest, the victorious Alfonso d'Albuquerque left behind 600 white Portuguese, who married the local girls. This saw the evolution of the Melaka Portuguese community through mixed marriages and the birth of a community with features of predominant Portuguese social-cultural background. The Portuguese in Melaka however retained their own language, Cristao. Melaka has and will always be the home of the Malaysian Portuguese. The Portuguese Settlement at Ujong Pasir, Melaka, provides a purpose of creating a settlement where the Portuguese could preserve their tradition and cultures.
In the early years, most Portuguese-Eurasian are fishermen and sea is the life blood of the Melaka's Portuguese. The majorities are Catholics and although not many remain fishermen today, they celebrate festivals, such as Feasta de San Pedro which reminds them of their bond with the sea. This festival is also known as the Feast of St. Peter. It is celebrated to honor St. Peter the patron saint of fishermen. Melaka's Portuguese Eurasian celebrates this festival with overwhelming enthusiasm. They also paint and decorate their boats which are blessed by the priest. The Portuguese-Eurasian still celebrates festival which originated from Portugal like Intrudu, Festa De Sanjuang, Christmas, Easter and Good Friday. The Portuguese with their special branyo and songs where as the Baba and Nyonya are more influenced with the Malay dance and music though they too have some Chinese origin dances.(Groff 1999: p. 8)
Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities regard dugongs as a significant part of their heritage, both socially and culturally. Traditional stories record the spiritual importance of dugongs. The cultural values of dugongs are also recognized in the important role they play in cultural practices and special events. Dugongs are hunted and eaten during significant cultural and social occasions such as ceremonies, weddings and funerals. The division and distribution of the meat from the dugong's body has a strong cultural significance.
26. Trans-Boundary Issues: Yes, Malaysia and Indonesia
27. Rights: N/A
28. Relevant Literature
Book and Articles
Mohd Nizam Basiron. Environmental Management Policies For The Straits of Malacca-Pollution and Conservation , 1995.
Gunalan. N. Help to lighten Straits burden. News Straits Times. 24 May 1999.
Chistoper E. Casslet. Ship-based Sources of Pollution in the Straits of Malacca and Implications for Management.
Waste hazard in Malacca Straits. The Star. 26 May 1999
Choong, M.Y. Stressed-out straits, The Star. 8 June 1999.
Banks, E. A popular account of the mammals of Borneo, Journal. Malay Br. Roy. Asiat. Soc., 9, pt. 2,1-139, 1931.
Bennett, G. Gatherings of a naturalist in Australasia, London. 1860.
Blanford, W.T. The fauna of British India etc., Mammalia. 1st edn. London. 1888-91.
Cantor, T. Catalogue of mammalia inhabiting the Malayan Peninsula and Islands. Journ. Asiat. Soc Bengal, 15: 171-203 & 241-279. 1846.
Tate, G.H.H. Mammals of Eastern Asia . New York. 1947.
Troughton, E. Furred animals of Australia . Sydney. 1941.
The Malayan Nature Journal vol. V no.1 March, 1950.
Baird, Alfred J. Container Vessels of the Next Generation: Are Seaports Ready To Face The Challenge
Rajah, D. Sea reclamation may start soon , The Star.8 August 1999. p: 14.
Rajah, D. Welfare fund to help fishermen , The Star.8 August 1999. p: 14.
Geroff, W. Voyages of influence , The Star. 16 August 1999. p;7-9.

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