Singapore gets oil-spill equipment

JAPAN has handed over to Singapore 60 million yen (about HK$4.2 million) worth of equipment under the Oil Spill Preparedness and Response (OSPAR) project.

The Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) will be the custodian of the equipment, to be used in efforts to minimise the impact of oil spills on the environment.

The equipment, which comprises booms, an oil skimmer and oil dispersant sprays, is part of the one billion yen worth of equipment donated by Japan to the six ASEAN countries - Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

The OSPAR project was mooted by Japan in support of the International Maritime Organisation's adoption of the International Convention on Oil Spill Preparedness, Response and Co-operation in May last year.

The project was co-ordinated by Japan's Ministry of Transport (MOT) and implemented progressively by the Japan Association for Preventing Marine Accidents.

The project is sponsored by the Sasakawa Foundation and the Japanese Shipowners' Association.

The OSPAR project provides the financial assistance to establish 10 bases in the six countries.

Japan shipping sources said that while each of the six countries has its own contingency plans to deal with oil spills, the addition of equipment will boost response capability.

An information network linking the countries, with Jakarta as the co-ordination centre, also has been set up as part of the project.

A management committee comprising representatives from the six countries and Japan manages of the equipment bases and the information network system.

The project is helping to build a necessary framework for international co-operation in the event of an oil spill in the busy waterways around ASEAN countries, a PSA spokesman said.