Collision Aggravates Port Boundary Dispute

Credit: Singapore MPA
Credit: Singapore MPA

Published Feb 9, 2019 4:01 PM by The Maritime Executive

A collision between a Malaysian vessel and a Greece-flagged bulk carrier on Saturday has aggravated the on-going dispute over port boundaries between Singapore and Malaysia.

No one was injured in the incident between the Polaris, a Malaysian buoy-laying vessel, and the Piraeus. Singapore's MPA says the incident occurred in Singapore Territorial Waters within Port of Tuas waters. However, the Malaysian Marine Department said the incident occurred in Malaysian territorial waters.

Both the MPA and Malaysia's Marine Department are investigating the incident, and Malaysia has detained the Greek vessel and crew as part of its preliminary inquiry. Piraeus was sailing from Singapore to her next port of call at Tanjung Pelepas in Malaysia when the collision took place. 

Singapore MPA issued a statement saying: “MPA is deeply concerned that the presence of the unauthorised vessels in our port limits can cause confusion for the international shipping community and threaten navigational safety in our waters.”

Last October, Malaysia extended Johor Bahru's port limits, a move which Singapore claims encroaches into its territorial waters and which has seen Malaysian government vessels enter the disputed area on a daily basis. The two nations are conducting meetings to diffuse the situation.