Updated: 04/10/2014 01:48

Singapore, Malaysia hold first joint chemical spill exercise at sea



Conducting water spraying at the incident site to combat the chemical spill (© Photo:NEA)

Conducting water spraying at the incident site to combat the chemical spill (Photo:NEA)

Singapore and Malaysia today held the first-ever joint chemical spill exercise at sea, along the Straits of Johor. 

Conducted by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and the Malaysia Marine Department (MMD), it was held to test the readiness of Singapore and Malaysia's agencies - the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and the Malaysia Marine Department (MMD).

A statement from the MPA and Singapore's National Environment Agency (NEA) says as part of the bilateral cooperation programme under the Malaysia-Singapore Joint Committee on the Environment (MSJCE), the Emergency Response Plan (ERP), jointly developed by MPA, MMD, National Environment Agency (NEA) and Johor Department of Environment (DOE), seeks to enhance the preparedness of emergency response agencies from both countries in tackling potential chemical accidents involving the seaborne transportation of hazardous chemicals in the Straits of Johor. 

To address any chemical spill incidents at sea, MPA has put in place the Chemical Contingency Plan (Marine), which covers the roles and responsibilities of responding agencies for cleanup operations.

In the event of an incident, MPA will monitor and coordinate cleanup operations at sea while NEA will monitor the air and water quality and coordinate the cleanup efforts at any affected shore areas.

"Regional cooperation is important as incidents at sea resulting in chemical and oil spills are often transboundary in nature. This is the first bilateral exercise we have conducted to tackle a chemical spill at sea. Such an exercise allows us to test regional and multi-agency response capabilities so that we are ever ready and well-prepared to respond swiftly and effectively to any maritime accidents, be it a collision, chemical leak or oil spill." said Mr Andrew Tan, MPA's Chief Executive.

NEA Chief Executive Officer Mr Ronnie Tay said, "The successful conduct of this joint exercise clearly demonstrates the operational readiness of Singapore and Malaysia agencies in controlling and mitigating chemical spillage incidents in the Straits of Johor. The quick and effective responses by the agencies from both countries will serve to minimise the environmental impact of any spill that may occur, and also reflect the strong bilateral ties and close co-operation between the two countries."

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