Visibility in the waters around Kertih Port in Malaysia could be significantly reduced as a result of haze coming from forest fires in Sumatra, Indonesia, according to Inchcape Shipping Services.
During periods of restricted visibility, Inchcape has recommended that shipmasters keep a proper lookout and navigate the area with caution, in compliance with the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.
Since last week, smoky haze coming from forest fires in Sumatra has blanketed the region, including southern Malaysia and Singapore, as well as the Strait of Malacca and Singapore Strait, impacting the safety of shipping navigation. Although the haze is a common problem for the region at this time of year, according to the Singapore Shipping Association, the Pollutant Standards Index hit an all-time high of 401, which means the smoke is considered hazardous to health and visibility is “significantly” reduced.
Malaysia’s government offered to host a meeting with the governments of Indonesia and Singapore regarding the haze, following an apology from Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono today, Bloomberg reports.
“As the president, I apologize and ask for the understanding of our friends in Singapore and Malaysia,” Yudhoyono said in a press briefing in Jakarta, Indonesia. “We will continue to take responsibility to deal with what’s happening right now.”
Fire-fighting efforts continued in Sumatra yesterday with a third water-bombing helicopter deployed, operating alongside two planes used to create artificial rain, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesperson for Indonesia’s disaster management agency, in a text message to a Bloomberg reporter.