Vessel entering the port (Photo by Ungureanu Catalina Oana from Shutterstock.com).

Singapore says it has received no communication or information from Malaysia related to development of a ship-to-ship transfer hub in the Straits of Johor

The Government of Singapore stated that it has not received any communication or information from Malaysia related to the development of a ship-to-ship transfer hub in the Straits of Johor by KA Petra Sdn Bhd and Hutchison Port Holdings Ltd.

“We are seeking more information from Malaysia on the project, including its precise location, as well as any potential implications this project has on Malaysia’s bilateral and international obligations, including on safety of navigation in the area and its potential transboundary environmental impact,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in a press release on Friday (5 April).

“Singapore has requested such information from Malaysia in order to assess its implications for Singapore,” the ministry added.

Earlier this week, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad witnessed the signing ceremony for the project.

Dr Mahathir spoke to reporters in the news conference, saying that the project will be within Malaysian waters and will not encroach into Singapore waters.

“This project has been discussed over a long time. There were problems we had when Singapore said we are encroaching. We are not encroaching. We are in our waters, and I think this is public knowledge,” the prime minister said.

He also stated that Singapore has been informed on the project, which has been billed as the world’s largest ship-to-ship transfer hub.

Among Johor’s leaders themselves, the project reaps controversy.

The crown prince of Johor, Tunku Ismail Idris, retorted Dr Mahathir’s statement that the southern state had been aware of the project.

The crown prince said that the prime minister was acting unconstitutionally over the project.

He also said that land and water matters are the state’s prerogative.

According to local media, the project will cost between US$150 million (S$203 million) and US$180 million.

The project will cover an area of 1,214ha, more than three times the size of Sentosa Island, which will begin within the next 12 months.

It will accommodate up to 30 ships at any one time, as well as facilitating the transfer of liquid cargo such as crude oil, fuel oil, gas oil, liquefied natural gas and other petroleum-based products, and is expected to add RM18 billion (US$4.4 billion) to Malaysia’s GDP.

Hutchison Port will take a 30 per cent stake in the project, meanwhile, KA Petra will take 70 per cent.

The hub is expected to be ready in 2021.