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Cargo ship loaded with containers close to coast

Advice, Loss Prevention

Singapore Strait territorial dispute

The Club’s correspondents in Singapore, Spica Services, have provided the following information on 6 December 2018:

Owners and Operators may be aware of a recent territorial dispute in the Singapore and Johore Straits, between the littoral States of Singapore and Malaysia.

Following the recent Malaysian Attorney General’s Chambers and the Malaysian Marine Department’s declaration of an alteration to the Port Limits for Johore Bahru Port, the MPA of Singapore has responded stating that the purported extension to the Port Limits for Malaysia’s Johore Bahru Port, does so in a manner which encroaches into Singapore’s Territorial waters and the approaches to the Port of Singapore off Tuas (Western Approaches, Singapore). Accordingly the MPA does not recognise the Port Limits published. The MPA goes on to state unequivocally that Masters and Owners should disregard the relevant Malaysian Gazettes and Notices.

The MPA further states; “MPA would like to remind ship masters and owners of vessels that Singapore’s territorial waters extend westward of Singapore’s current port limits around Tuas and vessels operating in this area are to continue to comply with applicable Singapore regulations.”

Attached hereto please find the relevant MPA Port Marine Circular, NO. 8 of 2018 and a chartlet detailing the area that the Malaysian Authorities are claiming is now Johore Bahru Port Limits.

Navigationally Owners and Operators should be aware that the current positions adopted by both Counties, along with earlier declarations of Territorial Waters in the same area, mean that in the area referred to as Western Approaches Singapore, and/or Outside Port Limits Singapore, Johore Bahru and Tanjong Pelepas (including the Oil Terminal at Tanjong Bin), there are now no waters that might be considered ‘International’, and thereby not under the jurisdiction of either State or local Port Master.

Should further information be required, please do not hesitate to contact the Spica Services offices in Singapore or Malaysia.

Circular from Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) (30 Nov 2018)
Port Circular from Marine Department Malaysia (11 Nov 2018)

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Member Alert is published by The Swedish Club as a service to members. While the information is believed correct, the Club cannot assume responsibility for completeness or accuracy.