14 September 2015

How does haze affect marine life?

Shipping and related marine activities are key to the economy of Singapore. While there has been focus on how haze affects land activities such as the Grand Prix and other events, haze can also have significant impact on life at sea and marinelife. Below are some actions being taken by the Maritine and Port Authority during hazy conditions.
How does haze affect coral reefs, seagrass meadows, mangroves and marine life? We don't really know. And we should!
Surveying the naturally regenerating reef at
Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal on a hazy day.
Fortunately, Dr Zeehan Jaafar and Dr Loh Tse-Lynn already wrote a paper on these issues in 2014.



Impact on marine life

The marine coastal areas in Southeast Asia that are affected by haze are global hotspots for biodiversity and are often already over-exploited and highly threatened. The reduction in sunlight from the haze, and the particles that settle in large amounts in coastal habitats are likely to have a negative impact of these ecosystems that are vital to coastal populations.

From the paper by Zeehan Jaafar, Tse-Lynn Loh. Linking land, air and sea: potential impacts of biomass burning and the resultant haze on marine ecosystems of Southeast Asia. Global Change Biology, 2014; DOI: 10.1111/gcb.12539

More in this old blog post about the paper.


Impact on shipping and ship workers

The potential for oil spills and other impacts to marine life due to shipping accidents in hazy conditions was among the many issues highlighted by Dr Zeehan Jaafar and Dr Loh Tse-Lynn in their paper.

Singapore is among the busiest ports in the world, and the Singapore Straits the most congested waterways in the world. Singapore's Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) has been proactive in not only alerting those using our port, but also alerting shipowners to look after the health of their workers. See the two circulars below recently issued.


MARITIME AND PORT AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE
PORT MARINE NOTICE NO. 106 OF 2015 dated 11 Sep 2015

To: Harbour Craft Community

CONDUCT OF HARBOUR CRAFT DURING REDUCED VISIBILITY IN THE PORT OFSINGAPORE

1 Visibility in the Port of Singapore may be affected due to prolonged and widespread haze or other environmental factors. In the interest of safety of navigation and life at sea, the Port Master may restrict the movement of harbour craft in the port waters during reduced visibility conditions.

2 Owners/masters and operators of harbour craft will be duly notified to suspend harbour craft movements if the state of visibility reduces to less than 0.25 nautical miles.

3 The Port Master may grant exemptions for harbour craft engaged in providing essential services in port, on condition that the craft is fitted with operational radar and electronic positional fixing equipment. The requests for such exemptions can be directed to the Marine Safety Control Centre at Tel: 63252488 / 63252489 or (email:
pms @ mpa.gov.sg)

4 Owners/masters and operators of harbour craft will also be duly notified when the restriction on harbour craft movements is lifted (when the state of visibility increases to more than 0.25 nautical miles).

5 Any queries relating to this notice should be directed to Capt Andy Chew, (Tel: 6325 2472), or, Capt Henry Heng, (Tel: 6773 7433).

DAKNASH GANASEN
PORT MASTER
MARITIME AND PORT AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE

MARITIME AND PORT AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE
PORT MARINE NOTICE NO. 102 OF 2015 dated 08 Sep 2015

Shipping Community
Harbour Craft Community

HAZE ALERT – 24-HOUR PSI LEVEL 101 TO 200

It has been reported that the average 24-hour PSI level is between 101 and 200. This PSI level range is considered as unhealthy.

2 Shipping & Harbour Craft communities, shipowners, shipping agents, terminal operators and marine service providers are advised to monitor the PSI level through the media.

3 Employers are advised to monitor their outdoor workers and follow guidelines provided by Ministry of Manpower (MOM). Guidelines for employers on protecting employees from the effects of haze can be found in the following MOM’s website: http://www.mom.gov.sg/~/media/mom/documents/haze/mom-workplace-guidelines-
2014.pdf

4 The attached table provides an overview of guidelines for employers on protecting employees from the effects of haze.

DAKNASH GANASEN
PORT MASTER
MARITIME AND PORT AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE

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