The Straits Times: Protecting S’pore marine environment ‘still a priority’

The Straits Times posted today that marine environmental protection is important in Singapore in order to continue the sustainable growth of the marine industry. The article is in full below.

 

The Straits Times: Protecting S’pore marine environment ‘still a priority’

Singapore is committed to protecting the marine environment in order to promote the sustainable growth of the maritime industry here.

That was the clear message from Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Lim Hwee Hwa.

She was guest of honour at the 7th International Chemical and Oil Pollution Conference and Exhibition 2011 held at Resorts World Sentosa.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mrs Lim outlined Singapore’s strategies on environmental protection.

After last year’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill, prevention and response measures in response to oil and chemical spills have become crucially relevant.

Singapore has adopted a three-pronged approach: prevention, resilience and innocation, she said.

In terms of prevention, Singapore is party to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (Marpol).

Mrs Lim said: “Through effective regulation of Marpol standards we minimize the risk of pollution from Singapore-registered ships sailing around the world, as well as vessels calling at the port of Singapore.”

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) plans to launch a Port Operations Control Centre at Changi soon. It will be equipped with vessel traffic management technology.

A Revolving Fund Committee has also been established with Indonesia and Malaysia to keep the Strait of Malacca safe. The fund gives monetary aid to countries to combat oil pollution caused by ships. Any cash drawn is repaid by the parties responsible.

On resilience, Mrs Lim said: “It is important we maintain a high level of resilience and preparedness so we can respond swiftly and effectively to any accident.”

She said MPA had developed comprehensive contingency plans reinforced by regular operational drills in order to ensure efficiency. Examples of multi-agency exercises include the live Joint Oil Spill Exercise in October last year.

Mrs Lim said in terms of innovation, Singapore was able to make full use of technology to modify and perfect its responses to such incidents.

For example, equipment MPA used to clean up after an oil spill in the Singapore Strait in May last year was invented for the purpose. The spill resulted after two vessels collided. A new craft was devised to sieve out oil-stained debris, something conventional skimming equipment cannot handle.

 

Image taken from R. Srijith

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