24 September 2018

Mr Agus Purnomo
Director General of Sea Transportation, Ministry of Transportation, Indonesia

Dato’ Haji Baharin bin Dato’ Abdul Hamid
Director General, Marine Department, Malaysia

Mr Andrew Tan
Chief Executive, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore

Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and gentlemen,

1.     Good morning. To all our guests, a warm welcome to Singapore. Singapore is honoured to be hosting the 11th Co-operation Forum.

2.     We are also privileged to have Mr Koji Sekimizu, Secretary-General Emeritus of the International Maritime Organization, with us today. I would like to thank him for his contributions to the international maritime community and for his long-standing support for the Co-operative Mechanism.

Keeping the Straits of Malacca and Singapore Safe and Open

3.     The Straits of Malacca and Singapore (or SOMS) is one of the most important shipping lanes in the world. Every year, more than 80,000 vessels pass through the SOMS, carrying one-third of the world’s traded goods. One-sixth of the world’s total oil supply also passes through the same waters. It is therefore critical that the SOMS remains open, safe and clean.

4.     The Co-operative Mechanism is an important platform for the three littoral states (Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore), as well as all user states and stakeholders, to come together and address issues of common concern, and collaborate to enhance navigational safety and environmental protection in the SOMS.

Progress of the Co-operation Forum

5.     The Co-operation Forum is one of the three pillars of the Co-operative Mechanism. Since its inaugural meeting a decade ago, it has grown, both in scope and participation. Today, we are happy to welcome more than 180 participants from around 80 countries and organisations.

6.     Over the years, the three littoral states, in partnership with user states and stakeholders, have made good use of the Co-operation Forum to discuss common issues and agree on ways to cooperate. Arising from these discussions, we have embarked on several initiatives to keep the SOMS safe and open for international navigation and to protect it against environmental damage.

7.     For example, one noteworthy initiative is the ongoing Joint Hydrographic Survey of the SOMS. This is being undertaken by the three littoral states and Japan. The data collected from this survey will be used to produce more up-to-date and detailed electronic navigational charts. This will enable better voyage planning and make the SOMS even safer for its users. I am pleased to report that the project is close to 40% complete, and is on track to be completed by 2020.

8.     As another example, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore have enhanced our emergency responses to incidents such as spills and ferry mishaps. To this end, we recently conducted a joint chemical spill exercise with Malaysia, and are working with Indonesia to complete a review of our joint ferry mishap contingency plan.

9.     These initiatives are possible as a result of good cooperation by all the stakeholders of the SOMS. I thank all of you for your strong support.

Anticipating and Meeting Future Challenges

10.    Even as we work to address today’s problems, the Co-operation Forum must also anticipate and address future challenges.

11.    One such challenge is how to keep pace with rapid technological advancements and how to fully harness their benefits. For example, technology can make shipping safer, through the use of sensors and other sophisticated systems on board ships. But there is still scope to eliminate navigational accidents.

12.    In this regard, we see the adoption of e-navigation as an important initiative. Later, the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) and Norway will make presentations on this topic. Singapore will also be sharing on how we incorporate new technologies in the development of our next-generation Vessel Traffic Management System. We look forward to working with all stakeholders to ensure that our systems are inter-operable. That way, we can fully reap the benefits of e-navigation.

13.    Another challenge is to make shipping clean and sustainable. This requires the collective commitment and cooperation of all stakeholders. We need practical and cost-effective solutions. This forum will facilitate sharing of ideas and best practices. We have a common goal to protect the marine environment in the SOMS.


14.    The essence of the Co-operative Mechanism and the Co-operation Forum is cooperation, close cooperation among all stakeholders. Let us stay focused on our common goal, to keep the SOMS safe and clean, and open for all users.

15.    I wish you a fruitful meeting. Thank you.