Indonesia and Singapore launched Tuesday an electronic navigational chart (ENC) for express ferry services between the two countries.
The Hydro-Oceanography Division (Jahidros) of the Indonesian Navy and the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore are set to work together on the system.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has required the use of the ENC -- part of an integrated program in the Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) -- in every country in an effort to improve maritime safety.
The IMO set July 1, 2008, as the deadline for all ships to be equipped with the device.
Janhidros head Commodore Williem Rampangile told The Jakarta Post the ENC system on the Batam-Singapore express ferry route would be the first of its kind in Indonesia.
A total of 60 express ferries ply the Batam-Singapore route daily.
The electronic navigational system used on each ferry is expected to prevent collisions at sea and improve maritime safety. It would also be used by merchant ships using the Singapore Strait, which is famous for its dense sea traffic.
"The MPA and Janhidros will work together to establish the system because the MPA has skilled human resources to set up the navigational system needed by both countries," said Williem.
Williem added that the MPA`s involvement would not influence the border treaty being discussed by both countries since the chart would only be used for navigational purposes, not demarcation.
Upon completion, the ENC -- covering sea areas around Batam, Rempang and Galang (Barelang) and Singapore -- will be marked by the United Kingdom National Hydrographer and Japan Hydrographer for shipping users.
There are eight ENC cells along the Batam-Singapore route. Each cell is sold at US$15 to $20. An ECDIS device, priced between $5,000 to $10,000, is needed to log on to the ENC.
"Every ship in Indonesia must be equipped with the device by July next year, failing which the Transportation Ministry will slap sanctions on violators, since Indonesia has signed an agreement with the IMO," said Williem.
Williem declined to say how much money Indonesia would earn from the joint venture. However, his office plans to build a similar network in 18 major ports in the country.
Director General of Sea Transportation Harijogi, Singapore MPA chief Parry Oei and chief executive of the UK National Hydrographer First Admiral Ian Moncrieff attended the signing of the memorandum of understanding on the system.
Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com (15 Juni 2007)