Year

2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security

Abstract

The importance of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore for the global shipping industry and world trade can’t be underestimated. In 2010, these routes were navigated by more than 74,000 vessels of various types. If the Straits were to be closed to navigation, global trade would be adversely affected, thus, injuring the world’s economy. Issues relating to the marine environment of these Straits have always been contentious. The littoral States may enforce marine environmental protection measures to protect the straits under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (LOSC), but their powers are limited by the application of internationally accepted regulations. The national laws of the littoral States governing safety of navigation and control of vessel-source pollution must correspond to the LOSC and other International Maritime Organization (IMO) conventions that the littoral States have ratified. This situation makes it difficult for them to effectively manage the marine environment of these shipping routes. Issues relating to vessel-source marine pollution are endemic in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore and with the projected increase of shipping traffic in future years, current protective measures may not be entirely sufficient to safeguard the marine environment of these waterways. This Thesis examines the potential environmental protective measures that the littoral States may, either collectively or individually, adopt in the future. Current and future alternative routes to the Straits of Malacca and Singapore for shipping traffic to use are also identified. The Straits of Malacca and Singapore are collectively a priceless maritime heritage and steps must be taken to ensure the marine environment of these waterways is protected from pollution and degradation.

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