A Singapore-Malaysia joint working group, set up on 11 February, met for the first time in Johor Baru on Tuesday, agreeing on some key areas of joint cooperation to respond to the Covid-19 outbreak. The meeting gathered senior government officials of both countries.
In its weekly report for 14-20 January, ReCAAP ISC informed of four incidents against ships in Asia, comprising a very serious incident (CAT 1) and three least serious (CAT 4) incidents. The highlight of the week was the first crew abduction in 2020 from a fishing vessel off Malaysia on 17 January.
A total of eight crew men were kidnapped from a Malaysian-registered fishing trawler which was found abandoned on 17 January, at approximately 4.24 nm off Pulau Tambisan, Lahad Datu, Sabah, Malaysia, according to data provided by ReCAAP ISC.
On 22 December, the Philippine military forces rescued two Indonesian fishermen who were kidnapped from their vessel by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) on 23 September, in the waters of Lahad Datu, Sabah, Malaysia, ReCAAP ISC informed.
Compliance is a major concern in light of the new regulations concerning pollution from shipping; whatsoever, no central policing agency as well as several countries have not signed up to them yet. Reuters reports that refiners and shipping companies are expected to spend billions of dollars in the following years in order to ensure fuel and engine compliance. Yet, as enforcement of MARPOL Annex VI, set by the UN rests with individual countries and flag states, means that for some routes and regions, compliance may be inconsistent.
Malaysia seized a Vietnamese oil tanker, which Reuters reported visited North Korea in February. The vessel was found adrift off the Malaysian coast, according to maritime agency. Under sanctions imposed by the UN, North Korea has heavy restrictions in its imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products.
UK will take back 42 containers filled with plastic waste that had been illegally shipped to Malaysia, according to a joint statement by Malaysia’s environment ministry and the British High Commission on Monday. These had arrived at Penang Port between March 2018 and March 2019.
Members of the Clean Shipping Alliance 2020 expressed disappointment in regard to Malaysia’s recently-announced decision to prohibit the use of open-loop scrubbers in its coastal waters, stressing concerns for shipowners who have already opted for scrubbers as a way of compliance with the 2020 sulphur cap.
Malaysia has banned the use of open-loop scrubbers on Malaysian waters. More specifically, ships are now prohibited from discharging washwater from open-loop scrubbers while operating in the country’s waters. As the government said, vessels calling to the Malaysian Ports are advised to change over to compliance fuel oil or change over to close loop system before entering Malaysian Waters and Ports.
Reuters reports that Nokia aims towards Malaysian ports in efforts to bring its 5G technology market in the area and prepare the Southeast Asian country for the launch of a fast mobile internet service next year. Nokia is expected to face challenges due to the fact that China’s Huawei has already signed 5G deals with telecoms firms in Malaysia as it battles a U.S. blacklist.
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