Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia have agreed that fewer super-tankers should use the crowded straits of Malacca and Singapore.
GV PAN DOWN conference building and flags (2 shots)
SV Indonesian Foreign Minister Malik arrives and into building
SV INT. Malaysian Minister of Information, Rithauddeen, up steps and into room
SCU Rithaudden sits at conference table
SCU Malik seated
SCU Singapore Foreign Minister Rajaratham seated
LV Rithauddeen talking
GV PAN delegates during conference
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Background: Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia have agreed that fewer super-tankers should use the crowded straits of Malacca and Singapore.
The decision was reached at a meeting in Singapore on Wednesday (19 February) of Singapore's Foreign Minister, Mr. S. Rajaratnam, the Foreign Minister of Indonesia, Mr. Adam Malik, and Malaysia's Minister of Information, Mr. Tengku Rithauddeen.
A statement released after their talks said that the three countries will be setting up a technical group to work out what limits should be placed on the super-tanker traffic.
It also said that immediate steps would be taken to regulate shipping and improve navigation aids in the Straits, which narrow to less than 12 miles between the Indonesian island of Sumatra and the Malaysian Peninsula.
Last month a Japanese super-tanker went aground in the Malacca Straits and spilled nearly 3,300 tons of crude oil which spread to waters of the three countries. They have asked the tanker's owner for several million pounds to pay for the clean-up operation.
Wednesday's statement added: "The ministers were of the view that existing schemes of insurance for damages caused by oil tankers were inadequate and steps should be taken to assure proper restitution."
Under the prevailing international maritime laws, Singapore and Indonesia have the power to restrict the free passage of vessels through the Straits because ships using them have to pass through their territorial waters.
Any restrictions would particularly affect Japan. Half of its present energy requirements are provided by oil shipped from the Persian Gulf all of which passes through the Straits.