06 February 2009

Nipah Island and Singapore's shores

Nipah Island, part of the Riau Islands province off Sumatra, became a center of controversy in 2003 after environmentalists claimed an estimated 300 million cubic meters of sand had been dredged from seabed around it and sold to Singapore each year for its coastal expansion works that boomed from 1999. Singapore has reclaimed Jurong Island, Tuas View and Changi, mostly with sand imported from Indonesia's Riau Islands.
Concerns have arisen that if the island disappears below sea level during high tides, it would risk Indonesia losing the maritime boundary that had been negotiated with Singapore since 2005.

A previous government report said Nipah only measured a total of 0.62 hectares when the tide came in, and expanded to 60 hectares during low tides.

After extensive reclamation work carried out by the Indonesian government, "Nipah island has now been brought far above sea level, just like before. We can already have buildings developed there and it has also been divided into several zones for different purposes,"

Nipah Island will be developed for various purposes, including as a traffic monitoring base for anchoring vessels, where vessels could anchor temporarily before entering Singapore, Malaysia or Indonesia.

According to the 2004 master plan for Nipah island`s development, plans for the island included a pier, plaza and monument, an integrated security post, mangrove and marine biota observation center, and a fishermen`s shelter. "The facilities would be constructed in accordance with the needs of visitors to the island which is located on the edge of a sea lane through which 50,000 merchant ships pass every year."

More reports about Nipah Island and Singapore's shores

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