Govt takes 'serious view' of recent oil spills

The Transport Ministry said it takes a "serious view" of the three recent oil spills in Singapore waters and will continue to work with local and international organisations to prevent a recurrence.

Such work will include submitting marine safety investigation reports to the International Maritime Organisation, sharing investigation findings with the shipping industry and working closely with environmental groups.

Those who are guilty of causing the oil spills due to "a culpable act or omission" will be charged under the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea Act.

It carries a maximum fine of $1 million, a jail term of up to two years or both.

Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim also pointed out that "swift action" had been taken by the authorities and stakeholders in cleaning up the oil spills.

He also assured Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Faizah Jamal that environmental concerns will be taken into account. Associate Professor Faishal added: "We want to not only keep our waters safe, but we want to keep our water clean as well."

NMP Faizah had asked about the impact of the oil spills on the marine coastal environment.

The spills occurred on Jan 29, 30 and Feb 10, resulting in a total of 760 tonnes of oil being dumped into the sea.

Prof Faishal also told the House of the precautionary measures undertaken by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.

These include conducting briefings on the importance of navigational safety for the shipping community and the development of a safe passage guide for all mariners navigating the straits of Malacca and Singapore.

"We will keep on (sending) the message that safety is key," he added.

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