Sailing through difficult waters

By Mohd Hazmi Mohd Rusli and Rahmat Mohamad

STRAITS TRAFFIC: Littoral states should increase collaboration to facilitate shipping and ensure safety of vessels, write Mohd Hazmi Mohd Rusli and Rahmat Mohamad

LOCATED in the middle of Asia’s maritime crossroads, the Straits of Malacca and Singapore have, for centuries, been celebrated as two of the most important sea lines of communication.

At the moment, about 40 per cent of the world’s trade passes via the straits, and even though this maritime route is the most convenient link between Asia and Europe, it has a notorious reputation for being navigationally difficult.

Navigational hazards

On average, the region around the straits experiences high humidity and considerable rainfall, and the wind velocity is relatively light. Given their location in a tropical zone, these areas are subject to torrential rain and squalls almost every day. A system of squalls originating from the Indian Ocean, described as the Sumatras, brings thunderstorms, heavy rain and winds in the pre-dawn and early mornings in the Straits of Malacca region.

The water currents at the northern entrance to the Straits of Malacca from where it meets the Andaman Sea are strong. In the south, the Straits of Malacca receives currents from the South China Sea, Johor Strait and Rupat Strait.

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