Symposium on Safety and Protection of Marine Environment to be Held in November

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Nippon Foundation (NF) and the Round Table of international shipping associations (RTisa) (BIMCO, ICS, INTERCARGO & INTERTANKO) are pleased to announce a symposium in Kuala Lumpur on November 24, 2008 to discuss current positive developments in support of safety and protection of the marine environment in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.

The governments of , and (the Littoral States), having been consulted on the objectives of the event by the organisers, have welcomed the concept and have undertaken to assist with advice on the scope of the event and with speakers.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has also expressed support for the concept of the symposium, as a means to build further on various initiatives related to the Straits of Malacca and , such as the Littoral States' Co-operative Mechanism and the IMO's project.

Amongst the straits used for international navigation (as defined by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)), the Straits of Malacca and Singapore rank as the busiest with transiting ships carrying around one third of the world’s oil supplies and half of world trade.  The pressures of maintaining safety and protecting the natural marine environment of the Littoral States of , and are enormous. 

The NF and RTisa reaffirm that safety and environmental protection of the Straits of Malacca and must be assured to enjoy sustainable utilization of the seas and sustainable development of the world economy.  Appreciation is expressed for the considerable effort of the Littoral States, including the establishment of the Aids to Navigation fund, at a meeting held in April 2008 in . The RTisa particularly welcomes the generous NF contribution of an initial sum of US$M 1.351 to this fund representing the cost of the baseline survey on which the future maintenance program will be based.

The Nippon Foundation announced last year its decision to contribute to the Aids to Navigation Fund which was proposed last year by the and the IMO. At the IMO meeting in in September 2007, the Chairman of The Nippon Foundation, Yohei Sasakawa, agreed to contribute up to a third of the cost of the new fund for the first five years.

The symposium will explain the significance of the Straits in terms of global trade and benefit to the global community and why the Straits should remain safe, secure and open to navigation.  It will outline measures already in progress under the Littoral States’ Co-operative Mechanism as well making proposals on possible new areas for study and corporate social responsibility impacts on user states and on all stakeholders in the industry.

Subjects to be covered will include:

·        The background, history and global significance of the Straits of Malacca and

·        The legal background on safety and environmental protection in straits used for international navigation, in accordance with UNCLOS

·        The development by the Littoral States of the Co-operative Mechanism

·        The role of user states and of industry in support of the Co-operative Mechanism

·        Future developments in the Straits of Malacca and

·        Corporate social responsibility

Speakers will include experts in the various subjects, drawn from governments, industry and academia.

The symposium will be of value to all those with an interest in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore including shipowners and operators, all stakeholders in the carriage of cargo through  the Straits, and representatives of user state governments.  The NF and RTisa are convinced that the symposium will attract a wide range of industry stakeholders interested in voluntary cooperation within the Co-operative Mechanism.  The RTisa encourages members of its constituent bodies to attend.

Further details of the symposium and reception, together with registration forms, will be made available shortly, but meanwhile all those with an interest in these important topics are invited to reserve the date in their diary.

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