29 December 2014

Pollution at sea? Boats ramming reefs? Call MPA immediately!

Just as the fire department can't be everywhere and relies on people on the ground to sound the alert, we can make a difference by immediately reporting incidents that hurts our reefs and shores. Spot a dive boat squashing a reef?
Photo by Toh Chay Hoon on facebook.
Encounter an oil slick? Like Audrey Pang and Hans Jensen, who unfortunately got their dive gear fouled by oil while diving at Pulau Hantu on 20 Dec.
Photo shared by Hans Jensen
Photo shared by Hans Jensen
Or spot any vessels dumping oil, sewage or garbage?

Call MPA’s Marine Safety Control Centre at 6325 2488/ 2489 (put this number on your mobile speed dial). To help in MPA’s investigations (and prosecution), please share these too:
  • describe the incident
  • identifying markings of the vessel
  • description of the vessel
  • photos of the incident (you can email to Low Yue Wen low_yue_wen@mpa.gov.sg)

I wrote to MPA about the dive boat squashing a reef and also asked about how we can help stop pollution at sea. Here's the kind reply from Low Yue Wen of MPA's Community Engagement Department.

Safe Navigation

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) takes a serious view on marine incidents occurring in the Singapore port waters. MPA’s regulations require all craft operating in Singapore Port Waters to be equipped with a transponder and navigational charts. The equipment will indicate reefs in our port waters, as well as all potential dangers and hazards to the craft. Every master is required to comply with the relevant local and international regulations on safe navigational conduct and to exercise caution as required by the practice of good seamanship. As mentioned in the recent news article, if the master or owner of the vessel is found to have contravened MPA’s port regulations, such as navigating in a reckless or negligent manner or in any way that is dangerous or likely to cause injury to persons or damage to property, he or she can be fined up to $5,000.

Waste Management / Prevention of Pollution

As a signatory of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL 73/78), MPA takes measures to prevent, pollution of the Singapore waters.

Under regulations by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), ships that call at Singapore are not allowed to dump oil, sewage or garbage in its waters. If the master, the owner and the agent of the ship is found to have contravened MPA’s port regulations, such as discharging sewage or garbage in Singapore’s waters, he or she can be guilty of an offence and can be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000, or, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to both. If the master, the owner and the agent of the ship is found to have contravened MPA’s port regulations, such as discharging oil in Singapore’s waters, he or she can be each be guilty of an offence and can be liable on conviction to a fine of not less than $1,000 and not more than $1 million or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to both.

The public may contact MPA’s Marine Safety Control Centre at 6325 2488/ 2489 to report any sightings of pollution at sea, and to facilitate MPA’s investigations, please provide relevant photographic evidence (if available) of the incident, contamination and/or the markings/descriptions of the vessel/s and/or parties concerned.

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