The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has handed over the Marine Electronic Highway (MEH) IT Data System Center, which manages the shipping traffic system with the electronic system in the Malacca and Singapore straits, to the Sea Transportation Directorate in Batam, Riau Islands.Batam will serve as the system control center given its strategic location between both straits. The transfer, which coincided with the official completion of the MEH IT Data System Center, was presided over by IMO secretary-general Koji Sekimizu and the Transportation Ministry’s Sea Transportation Director General Leon Muhammad, and was witnessed by representatives from Singapore and Malaysia. The equipment was set up within a hilltop complex, along with the Pantai Tanjung Sengkuang radio station, from where the sea traffic around Batam is quite visible. Leon said the installation, aimed at improving shipping safety, not only functioned to provide data input for MEH but also to enhance observation capacity and marine management in Indonesia, as well as the coasts along the Malacca and Singapore straits. “The MEH project is divided into two phases. The initial phase is allocated for the Malacca and Singapore straits, while the second phase is MEH extension in other marine areas. Its function is not only for sea traffic safety, but also to enhance observation and sea management along the straits,” said Leon. IMO secretary-general Koji Sekimizu said the transfer of the MEH to Indonesia was appropriate given its role and participation in the Malacca Straits and its strategic location between the Malaysian and Singaporean sea territories. The presence of the facility would enhance Indonesia’s role and contribution to the shipping industry in the Southeast Asian region as well as the world, he added. “Indonesia can enhance its role and contribution to the shipping industry in the ASEAN region and the world,” said Koji. The MEH IT Data System Center was established with a 500,000 euro grant (US$666,000). With sophisticated equipment, the whole area of the Malacca and Singapore straits can be monitored and overseen in real time and shipping management and traffic control can be carried out easily and quickly, including monitoring security disturbances, such as piracy and other crimes. Leon said the MEH was a regional project between Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, in collaboration with the Global Environment Facility (GEF), IMO and the World Bank, among other contributors.
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