The Cooperative Mechanism on Safety of Navigation and Environmental Protection in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (SOMS) is the key platform for the littoral states (Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia), user states, the industry and other stakeholders to exchange information, share their perspectives and cooperate on projects to enhance safety of navigation and environmental protection in the SOMS.
The 5th Cooperative Mechanism meeting was held in Singapore during the period 24-28 September 2012 and attracted over 150 delegates from 32 countries and 14 organisations from around the world, including:
• The International Maritime Organization (IMO)
• International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA)
• International Hydrographic Organization (IHO)
• International Chamber of Shipping (ICS)
• Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO)
• Malacca Strait Council
• The Nippon Foundation
• International Federation of Shipmasters Association (IFSMA)
• Global Maritime Education and Training Association (GLOBALMET).
The Australian delegation consisted of Mr Gerry Brine, Manager Aids to Navigation; and Mr Mustafa Ali, Principal Advisor Navigation; Maritime Standards Division. There were several areas of interest to Australia on the agenda and the Australian delegates were engaged in general discussions including providing useful input to the following:
• synergies between Marine Electronic Highway (MEH) and e-navigation
• cooperation and capacity building on hazardous and noxious substance incidents’ preparedness and response in SOMS
• replacement and maintenance of aids to navigation in SOMS
• feasibility study on Emergency Towage Vessel (ETV) service in SOMS
• concept study on real-time monitoring of under keel clearance in SOMS.
The key outcomes from the meeting included:
• IMO Agreement to extend the Joint Technical Agreement with littoral states for a further three years
• a concept study to be funded by the IMO for an under keel clearance management system for the SOMS
• agreement on terms of reference for the littoral states to examine the legal liability and regulatory regimes of the littoral states issues prior to examining the operational feasibility of establishing of an Emergency Towing Vessel service.
• agreement to develop a ‘safe passage’ pamphlet for release at the sixth meeting in September 2013.
The meeting acknowledged Australia’s strong support and commitment in providing technical assistance and capacity building on various projects under the Cooperative Mechanism towards enhancing navigational safety and environmental protection in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.