Signing Ceremony on The Nippon Foundation’s Contribution to the Aids to Navigation Fund for 2009
Your Excellency Dato’ Sri Ong Tee Keat, The Honourable Minister of Transport of Malaysia,
Your Excellencies, Ambassadors of the UAE and Japan,
Distinguished representatives of the governments of the littoral States,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great honour to welcome you to this memorable signing ceremony. It is also my pleasure to contribute to the Aids to Navigation Fund for the sake of enhancing the safety of navigation and environmental protection in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.
I appreciate the huge efforts by the littoral States for having successfully implemented the Aids to Navigation Fund this January and in particular, Malaysia for its leadership in the Aids to Navigation Fund Committee.
As you are all aware, the Straits of Malacca and Singapore are narrow and long straits used for international navigation with many dangerous places affecting safety of navigation. They are the busiest straits in the world with its annual traffic of 94,000 vessels, far beyond than that of the Suez Canal or the Panama Canal. With recent growth in traffic volume, we need better disaster risk management for the Straits. If there were a serious accident, the values of the Straits to the global community would deteriorate. Therefore, it is getting more important to bring in preventive measures rather than cures after accidents.
Under these circumstances, the Aids to Navigation Fund has been put into operation by great efforts from the littoral States. It is essential for preventing accident to ensure proper maintenance and replacement of aids to navigation in the Straits through voluntary contribution from users of the Straits. This promotes sustainable safety of navigation in the Straits and is remarkable as it embodies the implication of the UNCLOS Article 43 for the first time across the world.
For these reasons, The Nippon Foundation pledged its financial contribution to the Aids to Navigation Fund in the hope of seeing well-balanced and sustainable contributions from other users of the Straits. Today, The Nippon Foundation contributes 2.5 million US dollars, equivalent to one third of its total expenditure for 2009, to the Aids to Navigation Fund.
The Nippon Foundation recognizes it is a great step-forward that UAE and the Republic of Korea as well as the Middle East Navigation Aids Service and The Japanese Shipowners’ Association have contributed or have pledged their contribution. In particular, it is praiseworthy as the first step-forward to achieve our goal of well-balanced contributions that the Round Table of International Shipping Associations pledged to indirectly contribute 1 million US dollars to the Aids to Navigation Fund through the Middle East Navigation Aids Service during the international Symposium last November.
However, it remains important to realize more contributions from a wide range of users, for the sake of further enhancing the safety of navigation and environmental protection in the Straits. To this end, The Nippon Foundation continues in its efforts including collaborating with other users of the Straits.
In particular, The Nippon Foundation is focusing on inducing users of the Straits to play their role from the viewpoint of Corporate Social Responsibility. To achieve this, The Nippon Foundation would like to seek continuous cooperation from the littoral States and sincerely hope that the international shipping community would provide further understanding and cooperation towards enhancing the safety of navigation and environmental protection in the Straits.
Finally, The Nippon Foundation is very much looking forward to today’s ceremony as part of the process for a bright future for the Straits.
Thank you very much.