05 February 2015
2014 saw its fair share of tragedies with cruise liners and passenger ferries highlighting the problem of ensuring the safety and security of these vessels. What can be done?
Singapore has a major stake in ensuring the safety and security of passenger ships. It has become an important hub port for cruise liners. A new cruise terminal opened in 2012, and the world’s biggest cruise liners now visit the port. Singapore has also accepted a large responsibility for search and rescue in the region, and would be heavily involved in rescue operations in the event of a major passenger ship accident in regional waters.
More cruise liners with large numbers of passengers now sail in regional waters, while passenger ferries operate extensively in the region, particularly in the Indonesian and Philippine archipelagos and across the Malacca and Singapore Straits. Human error is a major cause of shipping accidents, including faulty operation of equipment leading to a fire. Apart from the risks of a fire or other accident, passenger ships are potentially an attractive target for terrorists. Terrorist bomb attacks have occurred in the past to ferries in Indonesia and the Philippines.
…Sam Bateman is an adviser to the Maritime Security Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. He is a former Australian naval commodore.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 01/12/2015