The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), along with the Marine Department of Malaysia (MDM), has conducted a joint chemical spill exercise at sea along the East Johor Strait.

The joint exercise has been aimed to test the joint emergency response plan (ERP) for chemical spill incidents and the communication linkages between the operation liaison officers (OLOs) and the environment liaison officers (ELOs) in both the countries.

The ERP has been jointly developed by MPA, MDM, the National Environment Agency (NEA), and Johor Department of Environment (DOE), and intends to handle possible chemical accidents in connection with the seaborne transportation of hazardous chemicals along the Straits of Johor.

" Regular bilateral exercises are vital to strengthening regional and multi-agency response capabilities."

As part of a bilateral cooperation programme under the Malaysia-Singapore Joint Committee on the Environment (MSJCE), the latest exercise has been performed.

Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore chief executive Andrew Tan said: "The Straits of Johor is a busy waterway.

“Regular bilateral exercises are vital to strengthening regional and multi-agency response capabilities.

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“Today’s exercise ensures that should collisions leading to chemical or oil spills occur, all agencies are ready to respond swiftly and effectively.”

During the exercise, a collision between a chemical tanker departing an oil terminal in Pasir Gudang, Malaysia and a cargo ship departing an adjacent shipyard has been simulated.

The simulation has created a spillage of around 30t of a chemical known as Styrene Monomer.

Two crew members from the cargo ship have also taken part in the exercise to simulate search-and-rescue coordination efforts.

Singapore has deployed four vessels, 30 officers and ten observers to perform the exercise.

MPA has already put in place the chemical contingency plan (marine) to tackle chemical spill incidents at sea.

Image: Singapore and Malaysia’s joint chemical spill drill at sea along the East Johor Strait. Photo: courtesy of Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.