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Masing mulls using vessels traffic system as in London
Posted on : 18 Sep 2017  Source of News: The Borneo Post

Masing mulls using vessels traffic system as in London

September 18, 2017, Monday

Masing (second right) being briefed on the workings of the VTS.

KUCHING: Sarawak aims to enhance navigation safety and security in its waters by implementing the vessels traffic system (VTS), like the one practised by Port of London Authority (PLA).

The PLA has been using the VTS for over 30 years. The need for VTS was highlighted when in 1989 a party boat collided with a barge, resulting in 51 deaths.

After an inquiry lasting for 10 years, the Automatic Identification System (AIS) was made mandatory and the system eventually was further enhanced into a full-fledged VTS that had been in use till the present day.

The VTS now operates 24/7 for any navigational activities along the River Thames over an area of approximately 600 square miles. The number of chargeable vessel arrivals to the Port of London in 2016 was 10,869. The total traffic throughput was 50.4 million tonnes in 2016.

This system was highlighted by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing, who is also Minister of Infrastructure Development and Transportation, in a press statement issued in London yesterday following his Sept 16 working visit to the Port of London Authority.

“We can draw on the practice and experience of Port of London Authority to enhance the navigation safety and security in Sarawak waters by implementing the VTS,” he said.

Masing and his delegation also visited the Thames Barrier, the precursor of the Kuching Barrage at Sejingkat The Thames Barrier with 10 gates was constructed in the 1970s at a cost of £520 million.

It is effectively a moveable flood mitigation barrier in the River Thames east of central London. It was designed to prevent flooding forecasted until 2070. It has been in operation since 1984, preventing flooding in the central London area with a population of 1.35 million people.

The project also took into account the environmental impact on the fishes in the river and birds in the area. The delegates were also briefed on how they carry out their maintenance on a monthly and yearly basis which involves about 3,000 personnel, meant specifically also for exposure to all and sundry. The maintenance cost of the Thames Barrier is estimated at £10 million per year. Remote sensors and CCTVs are being used to monitor the operation of the Thames barrier.

“As for the Kuching Barrage, we could follow the example of the Thames Barrier’s practice of replacing the parts of the plant and equipment as and when they reach the end of their designed usage life even though they are found to be in good condition,” said Masing.

At the Port of London Authority, members of the Sarawak delegation were received by deputy VTS manager Kelvin Aterton who provided the briefing and demonstration on the VTS in operation along the River Thames and surrounding area.

Among key members of the delegation were the permanent secretary to the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Transportation Datu Safri Zainudin and the director of Sarawak Marine Department Mohd Marzuki Brahim, members of Sarawak Buoys and Lights Board; namely Datuk Ranum Mina, Alexander Vincent, Robert Lau Hong Thiam and Sih Hua Tong and other senior government officials.

Masing (seventh left, front row) with members of the Sarawak delegation during a photo call at Port of London Authority, United Kingdom on Saturday.