Safe navigation in the Malacca and Singapore Straits


Published: 30 June 2014

The situation

Members will be aware that traversing the busy waters of the Malacca and Singapore Straits can prove to be challenging, even for experienced masters and crew.

Over the years, a number of significant shipping casualties have occurred in and around this region, including matters so significant that they resulting in claims on the IG P&I pool.

Accompanying this bulletin is a detailed analysis of the developing challenges for safe navigation in the Malacca and Singapore Straits prepared by Capt. Fadzlon Ahmad of StrasseLink.

Loss prevention advice

The Association previously advised in regard to the safe navigation in the region and would repeat the earlier advice that close attention needs to be paid to the speed of the vessel when in busy waters.

Furthermore, the following are important to ensure the safe navigation of the vessel:

  1. a safe voyage begins with good passage planning
  2. effective bridge team management and communication at all times
  3. detailed advance discussion about plans for going through busy or otherwise challenging waters
  4. masters and pilots need to have good communication and jointly review plans for any passage under pilotage
  5. bridge teams need to be familiar with the ECDIS system actually on board the vessel
  6. the OOW should avoid "over-reliance" on electronic aids to navigation to the exclusion of other methods
  7. ECDIS systems need to be properly set up with respect to information layers and alarm settings

Members may also wish to further consult the 2014 safe passage pamphlet produced by the Cooperative Mechanism on Safety of Navigation and Environment Protection in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore and BIMCO.

The Association is grateful to Capt. Fadzlon Ahmad of StrasseLink for providing the accompanying detailed analysis of the developing challenges for safe navigation in the Malacca and Singapore Straits.