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Managing oil spills in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore

Regional Workshops on Dispersant Usage and Operations in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore

Penang, Malaysia 
13 – 15 August 2018

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Marine pollution, particularly oil spills from ships, is a major threat facing the maritime community affecting the marine environment as well as navigation. As one of the busiest waterways in the world, the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS) is a priority area requiring cooperation among the littoral states and users in ensuring the straits are kept safe and clean.

The Revolving Fund (RF) is an example of such cooperation that enables the littoral states to take immediate remedial action in the event of any oil pollution in the straits. The management of the RF is undertaken by the littoral states on a rotational basis for a period of five years each. Malaysia is currently the Chair, up to 2022.

The above mentioned workshops were organised by Malaysia to share best practices and further cooperation among the SOMS’ littoral states. The forum was attended by representatives from Indonesia and Singapore, as well as relevant government agencies, the industry and academia. Ms. Cheryl Rita Kaur, Head of MIMA’s Centre for Coastal and Marine Environment (CMER) assisted with the preparation of the summary report as well as the Information Paper on the usage of dispersants in the SOMS as discussed and adopted at the meeting. 

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During the meeting

 

The workshops served as an important avenue for knowledge sharing among the littoral states and in providing a better understanding on the appropriate use of dispersants during an oil spill incident and to improve on best practices in dispersant use, technology, and application. Additionally, they increased awareness and engagement among the various stakeholders and expertise towards future oil spill preparedness and response. 

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Group picture of delegates and participants

 

The meetings covered current and best practices by the littoral states in the application of dispersants, introduced the environmental sensitivity index (ESI) mapping, and discussed country reports and lessons learnt on dispersant usage. 

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The event included site visits to the Fisheries Research Institute and stockpile at the Marine Department Malaysia in the Northern Region.

 

MIMA will continue to contribute and support such forums and endeavours aimed at promoting the well-being, safety, and sustainability of this important waterway through engagements with relevant stakeholders. 

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