Straits of Malacca & Singapore Marine Electronic Highway Handover
The Straits of Malacca and Singapore, situated between Sumatra and the Malay peninsula, are approximately 1,000 kilometres long, 300 kilometres wide at their north-west entrance, and just 12 kilometres wide at their south-east entrance, between Singapore and Indonesia’s Riau Archipelago.
The Straits are shallow, with narrow channels, irregular tides and shifting bottom topography, and hence are hazardous to navigation for large ships, but are a preferred route for them.
The Marine Electronic Highway (MEH) Information Technology System for the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, which had been managed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), has been handed over to the Government of Indonesia in a formal ceremony in Batam, Indonesia, marking the final stages of a demonstration project and the potential move towards a full-scale MEH project in the Straits, under the ownership of the littoral States.
“What we are handing over today is a functioning facility that harnesses the power of information technology to assist safe navigation through a defined and limited part of the Straits,” said IMO Secretary-General Mr. Koji Sekimizu.
The overall objective of the demonstration project has been to determine whether a full-scale MEH in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore can be economically justified and made financially feasible. The project is a co-operative arrangement with the three littoral States of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, in partnership with the Republic of Korea, the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO) and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS).
It is anticipated that the next steps in the creation of the MEH will involve Malaysia and Singapore establishing MEH Data Centres to house and operate MEH IT Systems similar to the Batam MEH IT System, in order to establish a regional network, to be called the MEH System.