Best of our wild blogs: 23 Aug 17



Labrador still alive
wild shores of singapore

Cats on Pulau Hantu (Part 2)
Hantu Blog

Getting the Haze Out of Our Food: #GoHazeFree Campaign Targets Use of Unsustainable Palm Oil in Eateries
People's Movement to Stop Haze


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Behind picture-perfect supermarkets in Singapore is looming waste

Food waste in Singapore is a massive problem. Supermarkets should lead the way to fight it, argue two environment experts.
Tristram Stuart and Josephine Liang Channel NewsAsia 23 Aug 17;

SINGAPORE: Singapore is famous for her delicious cuisine yet faces a serious food waste problem.

The amount of food waste generated has increased by 40 per cent in the past decade. In 2016 alone, the National Environment Agency reported a staggering 791,000 tonnes of food waste.

One of the largest contributors of food waste around the world, including Singapore, is the supermarket industry.

It is estimated that over 40 per cent of food waste occurs at production and retail level globally. As some of the most influential players along the food supply chain, supermarkets play a major part in contributing to a culture of waste.

SUPERMARKETS PICKING UP

Thankfully, supermarkets are picking up and doing something about this nasty trend in Singapore. NTUC FairPrice reportedly saved 250,000kg of food from being disposed between 2015 and 2016.

While this is encouraging progress, it is also demonstrative of the large amount of waste supermarkets produce, merely chipping away at the vast and complex food wastage problem that extends across other parts of society.

We have also witnessed some green shoots where independent initiatives to redistribute food that would otherwise be disposed or wasted have sprouted up.

Food Bank Singapore, one of the many examples, distributes 60 tonnes of surplus food a month to over 200 charities and feeds over 100,000 people in need.

Another organisation is the charity Food from the Heart, which has a partnership with NTUC FairPrice to collect unsold canned food in good condition for donation to charities and welfare homes.

Such efforts complement initiatives to increase consumers’ sensitivity to sustainability issues through campaigns such as Singapore’s Save Food Cut Waste. The hope is these initiatives combined can push people to be aware of better practices in avoiding food wastage at home.

UGLY FOOD A PROBLEM

But there is still more that can be done by supermarkets. In Singapore, food safety concerns and liability to be borne by the supermarkets are big hurdles to redistributing surplus food.

Fear and culpability prohibits supermarkets and companies from donating fresh produce like fruits and vegetables, which account for 60 per cent of all food wasted.

Globally, we know that wastage happens before food even reaches the stores, with an estimated 20 per cent produce in farms rejected for cosmetic reasons.

These include carrots that are slightly curved, strawberries that are too large, and cucumbers that are too yellow.

Because they are less than perfect, farmers have no other option than to leave the produce to rot in the fields, which does not only drain valuable resources, but also generates 2.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas per year, directly contributing to climate change.

Fruits and vegetables, which are edible and nutritious but judged ugly by mass market retailers, are pictured as part of a French national day of action against food wastage. (Photo: AFP/Miguel Medina)

Even produce that pass the intense initial vetting must undergo further scrutiny during packaging and processing.

In 2013, the French beans grown for European markets saw a further 15 to 20 per cent waste due to cosmetic filtering, on top of the existing 50 per cent waste. This was because some French beans did not fit requirements – for supermarkets required farmers to nicely fit their beans into the 9cm bags provided.

According to a 2016 Electrolux survey, 75 per cent of Singaporeans will consume ugly food if it is as tasty and nutritious as other food. One might speculate that, with safe and clever marketing or creative solutions, the remaining 25 per cent would be willing to try.

For example, NTUC FairPrice has started to sell blemished and bruised produce at a reduced price and repackaged as sliced fruit and vegetables, which appeal to consumers and increases income for the company – a win for all.

LARGE CHANGES TO SUPERMARKETS’ BUSINESS MODELS NEEDED

But the scale of the problem demands correspondingly large changes. Supermarket may have to rethink their business models, to incorporate solutions that avoid waste wherever possible.

Redistribution of food through welfare organisations should happen beyond in-store wastage, and on a larger scale up the food supply chain.

Consumer knowledge must be expanded, and mindsets changed, to recognise that blemished food remains safe and nutritious.

Online grocery stores have been taking off in Singapore and virtual marketplaces should be expanded to include surplus produce. Surplus food that has been marked down in price can be advertised alongside the other products, and delivered to redistribution charities’ and customers’ doorsteps just like in a conventional purchase.

TESCO AND FRENCH BEANS

The availability of data will be essential for Singapore to move forward. This includes publishing more elaborate and meaningful data that delves into the nuances of the causes of food waste. This also means that action can then be tailored to each market.

Tesco is an example. The first supermarket in the UK to publish a third-party audited report of food waste throughout its supply chain in 2013, it has used data to form meaningful partnerships to redistribute surplus food.

For instance, Tesco stores upload estimates of their unsold food onto a FareShare FoodCloud app. Then, charities and community groups registered on the app will receive texts detailing the available food, allowing them to pick up the food they need.

To do so, it has capitalised on its data to develop comprehensive programmes dealing with all facets of food waste, such as donating bakery surplus to charities, making these into animal feed and converting chicken fat and cooking oil to bio-diesel.

Detailed data can also inform grassroots initiatives and catalyse social enterprises that target specific forms of food waste. Tesco data that showed how 44 per cent of bread produced in UK is wasted helped launch Toast Ale, which brews craft beer from unsold loaves from bakeries and unused crusts from sandwich makers.

Going back to the example of the French beans, Tesco used to require growers to supply beans within a strictly specified size range and trimmed of their strings. They have since relaxed such requirements following customer feedback, cutting their food waste by 30 per cent overnight.

While individuals may hold less power than supermarkets, the above just goes to show much change can be brought about when people and organisations fix their minds to a problem.

With nine out of ten Singaporeans already concerned about food wastage, there is no better time to make your voice heard.

The power to protect Singapore’s food heaven lies in your hands – so talk to your local supermarket today about addressing food waste.

Tristram Stuart is an author, speaker and passionate campaigner on the environmental impact of food waste. He was in Singapore to speak at National Geographic LIVE!, organised in collaboration with NTU and NEA.

Josephine Liang is a sustainability campaigner, project manager and Executive Assistant to Tristram Stuart. She is also co-founder of Grandmas in the Kitchen, a social enterprise that empowers older Bangladeshi woman through providing them with catering opportunities.
Source: CNA/sl


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Indonesia: Satellites detect 538 hotspots in several provinces

Antara 22 Aug 17;

Pontianak, W Kalimantan (ANTARA News) - The Terra, Aqua, and SNPP satellites detected a total of 538 hotspots in several provinces on Tuesday at 8 a.m. Western Indonesian Standard Time.

Of the total, West Kalimantan had 193 hotspots, and Papua, 143 hotspots, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, remarked here, Tuesday,

Some 31 hotspots were detected in Lampung; 19 in West Java; 12 in Bangka Belitung Islands; 11 each in Aceh, North Kalimantan, and South Kalimantan; 10 in East Java; four each in Maluku and Central Kalimantan; and three in East Kalimantan.

Moreover, 48 hotspots were found in East Nusa Tenggara, eight in South Sulawesi, seven in West Nusa Tenggara, three in Riau, and two in North Maluku.

The number of areas gutted by wildfires has decreased over the past several years, from 2.61 million hectares in 2015, down to 438 thousand hectares in 2016, and the figure is expected to further decrease to 20 thousand hectares in 2017.

The authorities have anticipated an increase in the number of hotspots during the peak of the dry season from late August to September this year.(*)


BNPB warns of more forest fires in upcoming weeks
Nurul Fitri Ramadhani Nurul Fitri Ramadhani
The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Tue, August 22, 2017 | 05:06 pm

BNPB warns of more forest fires in upcoming weeks
Jakarta Post 22 Aug 17;

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) has warned of an increasing risk of land and forest fires from August to September as a result of the prolonged dry season.

The BNPB recorded that, based on the Terra, Aqua and SNPP satellites, 538 hot spots were detected on Tuesday with a confidence level of medium-to-high.

The actual numbers, however, might be higher than that already detected since the Terra and Aqua satellites do not pass through several regions the BNPB deems as blank spots — Aceh, Jambi, Riau, West Sumatra, North Sumatra, Gorontalo and East NusaTenggara.

The number of hot spots in West Kalimantan and Papua — two regions currently contributing the highest number of hot spots, around 193 and 143, respectively — is predicted to rise.

"The dry season will run until October. The peak is predicted to be in September. Therefore, there is an increasing possibility of land and forest fires. So, be careful," BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a press release on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Banten, Jambi, West Papua and North Sulawesi recorded one hot spot each.

Six provinces in Sumatra and Kalimantan — Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan and South Kalimantan — have declared emergency-alert status for forest fires, most were declared in June and will last until October.

Five taskforces with different responsibilities for land, air, law enforcement, health and public awareness have been deployed to prepare for forest fires. (ipa)


538 hot spots detected as Indonesia gears up for peak of dry season in September
Francis Chan Straits Times 22 Aug 17;

JAKARTA - Weather satellites have picked up 538 hot spots in the last 24 hours - believed to be the highest number across Indonesia this year - as emergency services go on high alert ahead of the peak of the annual dry season, which usually occurs in September.

The bulk of the fires were detected in West Kalimantan province (193 hot spots) and Papua (143), while the areas closest to Singapore, such as South Sumatra (8), Riau (3) and Jambi (1), were largely spared, according to figures released by the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) on Tuesday (Aug 22) .

Despite the high number of hot spots, Indonesia has managed to limit the amount of land burnt this year and prevent a repeat of the 2015 crisis, when the burning of forest and peatland in Kalimantan and Sumatra produced a transboundary haze that blanketed the region and led to record air pollution levels for months.

BNPB spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said compared with 2015, when more than 2.6 million ha of land across the country were hit by fires, only about 20,000ha have been burnt this year. The area of land burnt so far this year is also significantly lower than the 438,000ha that were razed in 2016.

"In general, there is progress in how forest and land fires are being dealt with," said Dr Sutopo. "It is impossible to eliminate hot spots from all parts of Indonesia during the year, (but) there is a decline in the amount of land burnt."

However, Dr Sutopo warned that as the dry season will last until October, there is still potential for an increase in forest and land fires.

"Although some areas experienced above-average rainfall during this dry season, with floods occurring in Sulawesi, Kalimantan and parts of Sumatra, forest and land fires still occurred," he added.

Six provinces - Jambi, Riau and South Sumatra on Sumatra island, and Central, West and South Kalimantan - remain in a state of emergency so that fire-fighting resources from the central government can be deployed there.

These include aircraft from the BNPB for water-bombing or cloud-seeding operations and additional manpower from the Indonesian police and military to support local fire-fighters in the field.

Dr Sutopo said there are now five task groups to assist provinces and smaller districts affected by, or are at risk of, fires. They include separate groups that oversee fire-fighting on land and from the air, enforce anti-burning laws, administer health-related services for affected residents, and a "socialisation task force" that educates people against using fire to clear land.


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Indonesia: Saving world heritage of Sumatra's rainforests

Ary Aprianto Jakarta Post 22 Aug 17;

Today’s List of World Heritages in Danger includes Indonesia’s Tropical Rainforests Heritage of Sumatra (TRHS), which encompasses three national parks along the island: Gunung Leuser, Kerinci Seblat, and Bukit Barisan Selatan.

Protection of the world’s cultural and natural heritage was among topics at last month’s meeting of the World Heritage Committee under the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The Sumatra site of rainforests was inscribed into the World Heritage List in 2004 given its exceptional beauty, significant on-going ecological evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals, including threatened species of outstanding universal value.

The exceptionality of TRHS has found no comparison in Indonesia. Even at a global level, its exceptionality is evident, as host of over 4,000 plant species, 450 species of birds and 180 species of mammals.

Nonetheless, road development in the area, along with failure in law enforcement, illegal logging, land encroachment, poaching, and other ecological degradation, prompted the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a network of green groups, to recommend the Sumatra rainforests on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2011.

To restore TRHS, an inter-agency coordination was formed at the central government level to orchestrate efforts at policy level.

Yet road development, poaching, and land encroachment etc persist. Those challenges are intermingling and formidable. Poverty in TRHS remains evident, prompting destructive acts. Building physical connectivity in remote areas to encourage economic activities faces environmental risks.

Developing and strengthening synergy is easier said than done. The most formidable challenge usually comes from different priorities of ministries or institutions. At the local level, things are worse.

Restoring TRHS affirms linkages between nature, climate, and disaster. Protecting nature helps prevent or lessen impacts of natural disaster; thus saving financial and social costs particularly as Indonesia faces frequent hydro-meteorological disasters.

If restored properly, TRHS can also be developed into an interesting eco-tourism destination. Indonesia already has best practices in managing eco-tourism destinations, some supervised under UNESCO. Synergy is again a necessity.

There are also international implications behind the urgency of restoring TRHS; which is not only Indonesia’s national property but clearly a world heritage.

While the World Heritage Convention recognizes the sovereignty of state parties to world heritage, the international community must cooperate with states in protecting such heritage. The Convention accords states with responsibility to provide information on conservation of world heritage in their territories, and prevent deliberate measures that can damage the heritage.

Thus once a national cultural or natural property is listed on the World Heritage List, states can no longer develop policies impacting the property without the scrutiny of the international community.

Since it is a world heritage, national efforts for conservation and/or preservation of TRHS resonate very well with Indonesia’s international commitment to nature, for instance in reducing emissions.

Restoring TRHS will also help realize Indonesia’s commitment to prevent forest fires in Sumatra.

Local communities have reportedly yet to sufficiently benefit from TRHS and its world status. This kind of complexity is not unique to TRHS. The government solutions to address those challenges, by developing harmony between social, environmental, and economic aspects, could serve as model for addressing challenges in other natural or cultural property.

The interplay between those factors must be understood by Indonesia, a country with eight UNESCO world heritages.

Failure to restore TRHS will damage Indonesia’s credibility in its commitment to nature. It also could render its future efforts in nominating other national property into the World Heritage List more difficult.

***

The writer works at the Foreign Ministry’s directorate for socio-culture affairs and international organization of developing countries. This is a personal view


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Best of our wild blogs: 22 Aug 17



Pipes still on Changi after excavation work
wild shores of singapore

How is Changi after oil spill and excavation?
wild shores of singapore

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Now in Cinemas!
Green Drinks Singapore


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Malaysia claims US warship-tanker accident happened in its waters

Today Online 22 Aug 17;

KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia has disputed Singapore’s account that a maritime accident between an American destroyer and a merchant vessel took place in the Republic’s territorial waters.

Malaysia’s Maritime Enforcement Agency director-general Zulkifili Abu Bakar insisted that the collision between USS John S McCain and Alnic MC occurred 4.5 nautical miles from Malaysia’s coast off Johor.

“It happened in Malaysian territorial waters, specifically in Teluk Ramunia waters,’’ Mr Zulkifili said.

He added that the Malaysian search and rescue operation was independent of Singapore’s, and Malaysia had not communicated with the Republic about the incident.

“What is important is, we do not want to have another collision between assets on the ground. For the time being, we shouldn’t be arguing about whose waters it is. The most important thing is to focus on search and rescue,” he said, referring to the territorial dispute over Pedra Branca that has simmered between Singapore and Malaysia for decades.

Malaysia’s navy chief, Admiral Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin, also claimed that the country’s KD Handalan warship was the first to respond to the distress call from the American destroyer.

“KD Handalan was just three miles from the USS McCain when it first received the distress call,” he said.

But a statement by the United States Seventh Fleet on Monday (Aug 21) evening contradicted his claim.

“Royal Malaysian Navy ships joined the search this afternoon, providing KD Handalan, KD Gempita, and KM Marudu and a Super Lynx helicopter.

“Earlier in the day, Republic of Singapore Navy Fearless-class patrol ships RSS Gallant (97), RSS Resilience (82), and a Singaporean Police Coast Guard vessel Basking Shark (PH 55) rendered assistance,” the US Navy said.

“Gallant, along with an Singapore Armed Forces Super Puma helicopter and Police Coast Guard vessels Tiger Shark (PH 54) and Sandbar Shark (PH 56) continue to provide assistance.”

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said it was notified just before dawn on Monday of the collision in “Singapore territorial waters” in the Singapore Strait, and the Republic was leading the search and rescue operations.

“The Malaysian agencies are not involved in the search and rescue operations that is led by Singapore,” the MPA said. The row over the ownership of Pedra Branca dates back to the late 1970s, and it took more than 20 years for the dispute to be brought before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in July 2003.

In May 2008, after several rounds of written pleadings and public hearings, the court ruled Pedra Branca to be Singapore territory.

It also ruled that sovereignty over the Middle Rocks belongs to Malaysia. But in February, Malaysia filed a challenge to the ruling, following what it claimed was the discovery of new facts from three documents recently discovered in the United Kingdom’s national archive.

In June, Putrajaya filed another application asking ICJ to interpret its ruling on Pedra Branca.

Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded to the application by saying that the ICJ judgment was “clear and unambiguous” and that Malaysia’s case was puzzling and groundless. AGENCIES


Malaysia insists leading SAR for missing US sailors

BY M. KUMAR The Star 21 Aug 17;

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia is leading the search and rescue (SAR) operations for the 10 missing sailors of US destroyer USS John S. McCain which collided with an oil tanker Monday.

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) director-general Datuk Zulkifli Abu Bakar said reports that the operation was being led by Singapore were false.

Zulkifli also disputed reports that the collision between the guided-missile destroyer and oil tanker MV Alnic MC occurred in Singapore waters.

"The 5.30am incident happened 4.5 nautical miles from our coast in Teluk Ramunia. It is in our waters so we are leading the SAR operations," he told a press conference at MMEA headquarters here Monday.

He said the SAR was being carried out with water and air assets from MMEA, Royal Malaysian Navy and the maritime police.

"The search zones have been divided into four sectors, each a square of five by five nautical miles," he said.

He said Singapore was also conducting its own search in the area.

The collision took place close to Pulau Batu Putih, the focus of a territorial dispute between both Malaysia and Singapore.

However, Zulkifli said that now is not the time for arguments.

"We will communicate with Singaporean authorities and our men on the ground are also talking to each other," he said.

He added that the Indonesian navy is also sending two ships, KRI Parang and KRI Cucuk, to aid in the SAR.

He said while he did not want to speculate on what caused the collision, he noted that the area was a busy maritime passage.

"It is the entrance to the Singapore Straits and Malacca Straits, which sees over 80,000 ships passing through it yearly," he said.

Zulkifli said both ships involved in the collision have been directed to Singapore's Changi port for repairs and investigation.

"USS John S. McCain suffered a gash on its port side while it is unclear if the Liberian registered MV Alnic suffered any damage," he said.

Five sailors were injured in the incident and are in stable condition at a hospital in Singapore.

Zulkifli said that there was no sign of the missing sailors so far.


US Navy destroyer collision: Malaysia assisting in search for 10 sailors
RAHMAH GHAZALI The Star 21 Aug 17;

PETALING JAYA: The Royal Malaysia Navy has despatched ships and a helicopter to help in search-and-rescue (SAR) operations after a US warship and a merchant vessel collided seven nautical miles off the coast of Johor.

Navy chief Admiral Tan Sri Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin said SAR operations are currently under way for 10 missing sailors.

The Navy has deployed three ships – the KD Handalan, KD Gempita, and KD Lekiu – as well as a CB 90 assault craft and SuperLynx helicopter, he told The Star.

“The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency has also deployed three vessels to assist in operations, and the Royal Malaysian Air Force is also deploying aircraft,” he added.

Kamarulzaman also urged the maritime community in Johor and Pahang, especially fishermen, to help look for the 10 missing US Navy sailors.

The USS John S. McCain, a guided-missile destroyer, collided with the Alnic MC at 5.24am on Monday east of Singapore, the US 7th Fleet reported.

The accident occurred when the US Navy ship was making its way to Singapore for a routine visit. Its home port is Yokosuka in Japan.

Singapore authorities are working with the US Navy to conduct search and rescue efforts after the warship suffered damage, said the 7th Fleet.

Apart from the 10 missing sailors, five personnel were injured.

The accident comes two months after seven US sailors died when the USS Fitzgerald collided with a Philippine-flagged cargo ship off the Japanese coast.


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Malaysia: Association wants to discuss conservation of shark, ray populations with Sabah Fisheries Department

AVILA GERALDINE New Straits Times 21 Aug 17;

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Fisheries Department’s determination to analyse fish landing trends in the state is vital in the moves towards managing sharks and rays.

In lauding the effort, Sabah Shark Protection Association (SSPA) president Aderick Chong said results from the department’s study should be made available to the public.

“This includes detailed records from every fish market around Sabah, which will be invaluable for shark conservation programmes. We would welcome the opportunity to meet with the Fisheries Department to discuss the study and explore possibilities to ensure we have healthy shark and ray populations to keep our oceans in balance,” he said in a statement.

Last month, the department revealed the volume of shark and ray catches had dropped by nearly half from 3,431.58 tonnes in 2012 to 1,788.46 tonnes last year.

The department attributed this to security concerns in the east coast and the erratic weather patterns.

“While it is true that the fishing effort has reduced, it is SSPA’s firm belief that the existing threats to sharks, such as over-fishing and climate change, must not be discounted,” said Chong.

“The landing assessment is not fully representative of the population status of sharks in our waters, and further research on population dynamics, ecology, spawning and aggregation areas need to be encouraged.”

On this, Chong said there was a need to develop a bycatch mitigation plan that will ensure efficient fishery operations.

He also noted that allowing the taking of sharks would not protect the population of other fishes but rather cause imbalance in the ecosystem and impact fish stocks.

“It will also be disastrous for the tourism industry in Sabah. Thousands of people travel to the state each year to dive with sharks and rays, especially at Pulau Sipadan and Mabul.

“If the exploitation of sharks and rays continues to the point where they are not commonly encountered, Sabah risks losing the millions of ringgit brought to the state annually.

“This is particularly the case for species such as the scalloped hammerhead — a globally endangered species — which is one of the major draw cards for dive tourists coming to Sabah.

“That they are still seen here is incredible. Sabah waters may represent a last safe haven for these rare animals, and we should afford them more protection,” said Chong.

Sabah Fisheries Department has proposed four shark and two ray species be categorised as threatened under the Fisheries (Control of Endangered Species of Fish) Regulations 1999 and Fisheries Act 1985.

The sharks are Sphyrna mokarran (great hammerhead shark), Sphyrna zygaena (smooth hammerhead shark), Eusphyra blochii (winghead shark) and Carcharhinus longimanus (oceanic whitetip shark), while the rays are Manta birostris (oceanic manta) and Manta alfredi (reef manta).

At the moment, only whale sharks and sawfish ray species are listed as threatened under the Fisheries Act.


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Cambodia: Why fishermen are planting trees

Phnom Penh Post 21 Aug 17;
Nick Beresford, country director at United Nations Development Programme in Cambodia.

Sao Theang steers his boat through the waters in and around the mangrove forest of Preynub, close to Sihanoukville on the Cambodian coast. It’s beautiful scenery and Theang tells us he hopes tourist numbers will start to pick up. As the head of Chumpu Khmao Community Fishery, he and his community already make a good living from shrimp, fish, mussels and other plentiful aquaculture.

But now the community is actively engaged in growing and protecting their own mangrove trees. Why are these fisher folk planting trees? Using tidal water flows and square blocks of natural mangrove, maximises the yields of valuable shrimp, fish and mussels. The mangrove forest adds to the beauty of the area: a plus for tourism.

The community works closely with the Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery, Ministry of Environment and the local commune, fostering a thriving business for the community, and effective environmental protection of a valuable forest.

Last week, the Ministry of Environment continued consultations on new legislation: the Environmental Codes. In a sign of how seriously these codes are being taken by the government, the consultations were led by Environment Minister Say Samal himself.

A remarkable feature of the Environmental Codes is the degree to which local government is empowered. For instance, in the section on biodiversity corridors and protected areas, local authorities have powers to expand protected areas. They are responsible for carrying out patrols, issuing licences and inspecting permits.

The codes extend these responsibilities to local communities, as well as indigenous groups. This marks an important step forward in solidifying the rights of these people, recognising their unique relationship to the environment and their ability to offer sustainable management and protection. The Environmental Codes contain a key concept of “collaborative management” to describe how the national government,

local communes and community groups can come together to forcibly and effectively manage natural resources. The codes contain principles such as “citizen’s access to information and to effective remedies” and “effective and full participation of all relevant stakeholders” in environmental decisions which may concern them.

The work of Sao Theang, his community, and their government partners is “collaborative management” in action. Not only have they been successful in business, but the Preynub communities were able to successfully push back against a land grab.

With some help from the Department of Fisheries and local authorities, the community was able to claim back their land. They are now replanting it with mangrove trees. Collaborative management is a smart and effective method and it’s deeply embedded in the new Environmental Codes.

With the added powers come new responsibilities. As the codes make clear, there is a need for staff with the right qualifications, training and experience at the local level.

This implies a major training exercise to strengthen local institutions and to coach their staff. This is a subject of great importance to Minister Say Samal and his colleagues. UNDP, USAID and the government of Japan, who have been working with the ministry on developing the codes, should be thinking of how they might help see it through with some support for skills and training.

The codes shift substantial government power down from the national ministries level to communes and other local authorities. Often this is politically difficult to do as unsurprisingly some powerful ministries can object.

The Ministry of Environment is making a strong case in the codes for decentralisation and leading by example. This is a great way to approach the subject and in the process make the government more effective and more accountable.

The politics and economy of environmental protection is complex and progress is rarely linear or easy. Learning from people such as Sao Theang and his community, and embedding the success of collaborative management in the new Environmental Codes marks an important step forward to better protection of the environment in Cambodia.


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Myanmar: Mangrove-planting drones on a mission to restore Myanmar delta

Thin Lei Win Reuters 21 Aug 17

BANGKOK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Fast-dwindling mangroves in Myanmar's low-lying Ayeyarwady Delta, ravaged by decades of deforestation and conversion of land for agriculture and aquaculture, could find an unlikely saviour - drones.

Mangroves protect coastlines in the face of storms and rising sea levels, absorb carbon from the atmosphere, and boost fish stocks, experts say.

Yet Myanmar has lost more than 1 million hectares (about 2.5 million acres) of mangroves since 1980, said Arne Fjortoft, founder and secretary-general of Worldview International Foundation (WIF), which has worked with two local universities to restore mangroves in the Southeast Asian nation since 2012.

In the delta region, known as the country's rice bowl, only 16 percent of original mangrove cover remains, Fjortoft, former chairman of Norway's Liberal Party, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by e-mail.

There is an "urgent need" to restore mangroves to stem saltwater invasion of farmland and shoreline erosion due to sea level rise, as well as to protect lives and property from storms and floods in coastal areas, he added.

An annual climate risk index by Germanwatch, a green research group, ranked Myanmar - which suffered decades of military rule - second among the 10 countries worst-affected by extreme weather from 1996 to 2015.

WIF has so far planted some 3 million mangrove trees, but the task is laborious and time-consuming.

Drones, on the other hand, could plant trees 10 times faster and cut costs by half, according to UK-based start-up BioCarbon Engineering (BCE), whose CEO is an ex-NASA engineer who worked on the search for life on Mars.

Once the process is fully automated, a single pilot operating six drones can plant up to 100,000 trees per day, BCE says.

In late July, the inaugural BridgeBuilder Challenge, which awards $1 million in prize money for ideas with global impact, selected as one of its winners a proposal by BCE and WIF to test the use of BCE's drones to plant a million mangroves in Myanmar.

The plan covers 250 hectares and involves training and employing locals to collect and prepare seeds, as well as to maintain, monitor and protect the fragile ecosystems.

It still requires approval from Myanmar's authorities, but Bremley Lyngdoh, a WIF board member who is applying for further grants, is hopeful work could start later this year.

"We don't want another big storm to come and destroy a lot of lives and livelihoods like in 2008," said Lyngdoh, referring to Cyclone Nargis which devastated the Ayeyarwady Delta region, killing nearly 140,000 people.

GLOBAL LAND GOAL

Drones are particularly useful in complicated or dangerous terrain that is hard for people to access, said Irina Fedorenko, a co-founder of BCE.

They can help green large areas of land very fast, and could contribute to meeting the international community's commitment to restore 350 million hectares of degraded forests and agricultural land by 2030, she said. That goal will be near impossible without technology and innovation, she added.

Experts say thriving mangrove ecosystems can store two to four times more carbon than most other tropical forests, helping reduce planet-warming gases in the atmosphere, while slowing coastal erosion and shielding communities against tsunamis and storm surges.

They also provide breeding grounds for fish and other sea creatures. Mangroves have been estimated to support 30 percent of Southeast Asia's fish catch, and almost 100 percent of its shrimp catch.

Yet they are being destroyed at rates three to five times higher than global deforestation, a 2014 U.N. report warned.

BCE's technology, which works in two phases, aims to change that.

First, drones flying 100 meters (328 ft) above the ground take highly detailed, 3D images of the land while sensors record information such as soil type, soil quality and moisture. The data is then used to create a planting pattern, pinpointing the best spots and species to plant in each location.

Then a drone uploaded with the mapping information flies 2 meters above the ground, shooting biodegradable seed pods designed to enhance germination success. A drone carrying 300 seed pods can cover 1 hectare in 18 minutes, according to BCE.

DRONES FOR GOOD

Fedorenko said BCE had tested around 3,000 species of plants in different conditions, including in Britain and a post-mining restoration project in Australia, and was confident of finding the right combination for Myanmar.

"Mangroves grow very fast. We will see results in a year, but we will know what's working or not in six months, so there is time to modify the technology and the pods," she said.

Once perfected in Myanmar, the technology could help other large-scale restoration projects, said WIF's Lyngdoh.

Long associated with military operations, drones' growing availability, improved performance and falling cost have led to their application in humanitarian situations.

In June, Vanuatu's government announced a plan to test the use of drones to deliver life-saving vaccines and health supplies to remote communities in the Pacific archipelago. [nL8N1JB0B2]

And Myanmar, with help from the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization, will soon begin using drone-mapping technology to reduce disaster risks to agriculture.

Reporting by Thin Lei Win, Editing by Megan Rowling; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, corruption and climate change. Visit www.trust.org


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Best of our wild blogs: 21 Aug 17



3 Sep (Sun) - Free guided walk at Pasir Ris Mangroves
Adventures with the Naked Hermit Crabs

Kusu Island with large fish trap
wild shores of singapore

Friends of the Forest library exhibitions (2, 3 and 10 Sep 2017)
Love our MacRitchie Forest

Pulau Ubin Commonest Birds Quest 2017
Singapore Bird Group

Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus malaccensis) @ Tampines
Monday Morgue


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USS John S McCain collides with merchant ship east of Singapore; 10 missing, 5 injured

Channel NewsAsia 21 Aug 17;

SINGAPORE: Ten sailors are missing and five are injured after a US destroyer was involved in a collision with a merchant ship east of Singapore on Monday (Aug 21), the US Navy said in a statement.

"The guided-missile destroyer USS John S McCain (DDG 56) was involved in a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC while under way east of Singapore and the Strait of Malacca on Aug 21," the statement from the US 7th Fleet Public Affairs said.

"The collision was reported at 6.24am Japan Standard Time, while the ship was transiting to a routine port visit in Singapore.

"Initial reports indicate John S McCain sustained damage to her port side aft. The extent of damage and personnel injuries is being determined. The incident will be investigated," the statement added.

Search and rescue efforts are under way in coordination with local authorities: "In addition to tug boats out of Singapore, the Republic of Singapore Navy ship RSS Gallant (97), RSN helicopters and Police Coast Guard vessel Basking Shark (55) are currently in the area to render assistance.

MV-22s and SH-60s from USS America are also responding," the statement added.

"The ship is currently sailing under its own power and heading to port," the US Navy said in an update.

The merchant vessel Alnic MC is described as a 180-metre long Liberian flagged oil and chemical tanker on the MarineTraffic website. It has a deadweight of more than 50,000 tonnes.

Malaysia has also sent a a ship to render assistance. It's navy chief Admiral Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin told Channel NewsAsia that the KD Handalan has been deployed.

The McCain is the second US guided-missile destroyer to be involved in a collision in two months. In June, the USS Fitzgerald collided with a Philippines container ship off the coast of Japan, killing seven navy sailors. The two senior officers and the senior enlisted sailor on the Fitzgerald were removed after the incident.


Singapore navy and police coast guard aiding US warship involved in collision
Today Online 21 Aug 17;

SINGAPORE — A search and rescue operation is underway near the Singapore Strait after a US warship collided with a merchant vessel near the Singapore Strait on Monday (Aug 21).

10 sailors from the US Navy are missing, while five are injured, after the guided-missile destroyer USS John S McCain collided with the oil and chemical tanker Alnic MC at 5.24am Singapore time, the US 7th Fleet Public Affairs said in a statement.

The warship sustained damage to the left side of its hull, towards the rear.

Two Singapore Navy warships have been deployed to aid the USS John S McCain, which was transiting to a routine port visit in Singapore when the collision happened.

Besides the Republic of Singapore Navy Fearless-class patrol vessel RSS Gallant and RSS Resilience, RSN helicopters, the Singapore Police Coast Guard vessel Basking Shark, and tugboats are assisting the US warship.

The US Navy has also sent its V-22 Osprey aircraft and Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk helicopters from the amphibious assault ship USS America to render assistance.

According to a marine traffic website, the Liberian-flagged Alnic MC was heading towards Singapore from Taiwan when the collision happened. At 6.58am, the merchant ship appeared to be at underway at the mouth of the South China Sea, sailing westwards towards Singapore.

"Search and rescue efforts are underway in coordination with local authorities," the US Navy said. It gave no further details on potential casualties, noting that the extent of damage and personnel injuries is still being determined.

"The ship is currently sailing under its own power and heading to port," the US Navy added.

Measuring 154m long, the 9,000-tonne USS John S McCain is smaller than the 183m-long, 30,040-tonne Alnic MC.

The USS John S McCain is based in Yokosuka, Japan. According to a 19 Aug Facebook post, the warship was last on patrol in the South China Sea in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.


Ten sailors missing, five injured after US destroyer USS John S McCain collides with merchant vessel near Singapore
Chris Graham The Telegraph 21 Aug 17;

Ten US sailors were missing after a US destroyer collided with a merchant vessel in southeast Asia, the second serious accident involving American Navy ships in the region in little more than two months.

Search and rescue efforts were launched after the USS John S McCain was involved in a collision with the Alnic MC east of Singapore and the Strait of Malacca, the US 7th Fleet said in a statement.

The accident happened at 5.24am local time as the guided-missile destroyer was heading to Singapore for a routine visit.

"There are currently 10 Sailors missing and five injured," the Japan-based 7th Fleet said.

Local authorities were coordinating with the US Navy to conduct search and rescue efforts after the warship suffered damage the port side aft, it said.


Location of the ship, the Alnic MC, just over an hour after it the collission CREDIT: MARINETRAFFIC

"The extent of damage and personnel injuries is being determined," it said, adding that the incident was being investigated.

The destroyer was currently sailing under its own power and heading to port.

Senator John McCain tweeted: "Cindy & I are keeping America's sailors aboard the USS John S McCain in our prayers tonight - appreciate the work of search & rescue crews."

The vessel was named in honour of the senator's grandfather and father, who were US admirals.

Based at the fleet's homeport of Yokosuka, Japan, the USS John S McCain has a crew of 23 officers, 24 chief petty officers and 291 enlisted sailors, according the Navy's website.

The ship it hit, the Liberian-flagged Alnic MC, is a 183 metre long chemical or oil tanker with a deadweight of more than 50,000 tonnes, according to the Marine Traffic website.

Shipping data showed it last sent a transponder signal at 2258 GMT on Sunday and has since come to a halt 6-12 miles off the east coast of the Pengerang peninsula in Johor, southern Malaysia. The ship data showed it was "ballasting", meaning that it was not loaded full of oil for cargo.

The accident comes two months after seven US sailors died when a US destroyer collided with a merchant ship off the Japanese coast.

The Fitzgerald's captain was relieved of command and other sailors would be punished after the Navy found poor seamanship and flaws in keeping watch contributed to the collision, the Navy announced last week.

An investigation into how and why the Fitzgerald collided with the other ship was not finished, but enough details were known to take those actions, the Navy said.


U.S. warship collides with merchant vessel east of Singapore
Reuters 21 Aug 17;

SINGAPORE/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. warship was damaged after colliding with a merchant vessel east of Singapore on Monday, the U.S. Navy said, the second accident involving U.S. Navy destroyers in Asian waters in little more than two months.

The Navy said in a statement the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with the merchant vessel Alnic MC while "the ship was transiting to a routine port visit in Singapore".

"Initial reports indicate John S. McCain sustained damage to her port side aft," the Navy said. A search-and-rescue mission was under way.

The U.S. Navy said last week it had removed the two senior officers and the senior enlisted sailor on a U.S. warship that almost sank off the coast of Japan in June after it was struck by a Philippine container ship.

That collision killed seven U.S. sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer the USS Fitzgerald.

A map shows the location where the Alnic MC merchant vessel came to a halt after a collision with the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain east of Singapore August 21, 2017. REUTERS
The Alnic MC is a Liberian-flagged, 183 meter-long oil or chemical tanker of 50,760 deadweight tonnes, according to shipping data in Thomson Reuters Eikon.

Shipping data showed it last sent a transponder signal at 2258 GMT Sunday and has since come to a halt 10-20 km (6-12 miles) off the east coast of the Pengerang peninsula in Johor, southern Malaysia. The ship data showed it was "ballasting", meaning that it was not loaded full of oil for cargo.

FILE PHOTO - The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain sails in formation during exercise Foal Eagle 2013 in waters west of the Korean peninsula in this March 21, 2013 handout photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy. U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Declan Barnes/Handout/File Photo
The U.S. Navy vessel is named for John S. McCain, Sr., and John S. McCain, Jr., both Admirals in the United States Navy.

"Cindy & I are keeping America's sailors aboard the USS John S McCain in our prayers tonight - appreciate the work of search & rescue crews," their son and grandson, U.S. Republican Senator John McCain, said on Twitter.

Senator McCain is a Vietnam War-era naval aviator who was shot down and held prisoner for five-and-a-half years. He is now undergoing treatment for brain cancer.

(This version of the story corrects detail on who the USS John S. McCain was named for, paragraphs 8-10)

Reporting by Lesley Wroughton in WASHINGTON and Henning Gloystein in SINGAPORE; Writing by Lincoln Feast; Editing by Peter Cooney and Paul Tait


US destroyer collision: Four injured taken to Singapore; no oil spill detected
Straits Times 21 Aug 17;

SINGAPORE - Singapore is leading search and rescue operations for 10 missing sailors thrown overboard after a United States warship and a merchant vessel carrying nearly 12,000 tonnes of fuel oil crashed east of the Republic on Monday (Aug 21) morning.

Four of five injured personnel have been flown to Singapore.

There were no reports of oil pollution and traffic in the Singapore Strait was unaffected, said the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore in a statement.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a Facebook post on Monday that four of the injured sailors had been transferred to the Singapore General Hospital.

“I hope their colleagues will be found. My thoughts are with their families,” he said.

President Tony Tan Keng Yam said on Facebook that he was saddened by the news.

“I wish those injured a speedy recovery,” he said.

“Search and rescue operations are still underway for 10 missing sailors. I hope they will be found soon. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families.”

The collision happened just before 5.30am, between US guided-missile destroyer USS John McCain and Liberian-flagged merchant vessel Alnic MC, in Singapore territorial waters in the Singapore Strait.

Earlier this morning, a Republic of Singapore Air Force Super Puma helicopter transported casualties from the ship to SGH.

According to the US 7th Fleet, four of the injured were medically evacuated to Singapore for non-life threatening injuries. The fifth injured sailor did not need further medical attention.

Close-up of the USS John S McCain near Changi Naval Base

USS John McCain was damaged in its port side and requested for tug assistance, said MPA.

Alnic MC sustained damage to its fore peak tank 7m above the waterline. No crew members were injured.

Search efforts are being carried out north of Pedra Branca.

On the sidelines of the Singapore-Australia Joint Ministerial Committee meeting on Monday, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen expressed his condolences to those injured or missing from the incident.

“Our agencies were activated and taking the lead in search and rescue missions, as well as assisting the disabled USS McCain,,” he said.

“Let me express our deep condolences to those who are injured or missing from this incident, but we stand ready to assist both the USS McCain and the servicemen,” said Dr Ng.

In a Facebook post, he said the SAF has been mobilised as part of a multi-agency search and rescue effort, led by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said in a Facebook post on Monday evening that search and rescue operations for the missing sailors of the USS John S McCain was ongoing, and that "we will not spare any effort".

He described the effort as a heart wrenching exercise, adding that "we hope for good news as we continue the search tonight".

The Singapore Armed Forces has deployed two Patrol Vessels, RSS Gallant and RSS Resilience; one Frigate, RSS Intrepid; two Super Pumas and one Chinook helicopter to assist in the search for 10 missing sailors.

MPA has also sent three tugboats to assist.

The Singapore Police Coast Guard (PCG) has deployed four vessels.

In addition, US aircraft MV-22s and SH-60s from USS America have been deployed. Malaysia has sent vessels to help with the search and rescue, its Navy chief said in a Twitter post.

Both vessels are currently on their way to Singapore to assess their damage.

The Republic of Singapore Navy's RSS Resilience is escorting the USS John McCain back to Changi Naval Base, Mr Ng said.


The US Navy ship was making its way to Singapore for a routine visit. Its home port is Yokosuka in Japan.

Alnic MC has been listed on marine websites as a 30,040-tonne, 183m-long Liberian-flagged oil tanker. Owned by Greece's Stealth Maritime, it was en route to Singapore from Pyeongtaek in South Korea.

The US Navy said the extent of damage to USS John S McCain is being determined, and the incident will be investigated. It has set up an emergency family assistance centre for family members of the ship's personnel.

MPA is also investigating the incident.


Oil tanker that collided with US warship laden with fuel oil, but no spills
Today Online 21 Aug 17;

SINGAPORE — The oil tanker involved in a collision with a US warship to the east of Singapore early on Monday (Aug 21) was carrying nearly 12,000 tonnes of fuel oil, but there was no oil spill, a crew member told Reuters via phone.

“We are carrying 11,987 tonnes of fuel oil. There is no oil spill. We were carrying fuel oil from Taiwan to discharge to Singapore ... We are proceeding to Raffles Reserved Anchorage where the owners will investigate the matter. There was some damage to the valve,” the crew member of the Alnic MC, who did not want to be identified, told Reuters via telephone.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) lists the Raffles Reserved Anchorage to the South of Bukom Island to be reserved for “vessels requiring emergency repairs and damaged vessels or as directed by the Port Master”.

None of the tanker's crew were injured, according to a statement from the MPA, which said the Alnic "sustained damage to her Fore Peak Tank 7m above the waterline".

Ten sailors from the US Navy are missing, while five are injured, the US 7th Fleet Public Affairs said in a statement.

According to a marine traffic website, the Liberian-flagged Alnic MC was heading towards Singapore from Taiwan when the collision happened. The merchant ship appeared to be at underway at the mouth of the South China Sea, sailing westwards towards Singapore.

"There is no report of oil pollution and traffic in the Singapore Strait is unaffected," MPA said.

AGENCIES


No oil pollution reported after U.S. warship, tanker collide off Singapore
Reuters 21 Aug 17;

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - No oil spill was reported after a collision between a U.S. guided-missile destroyer and a merchant vessel in Singapore waters, authorities in the city-state said on Monday.

Ten sailors from the USS John S. McCain were missing after the collision with the oil tanker east of Singapore, the U.S. Navy said, the second accident involving U.S. Navy destroyers in Asian waters in little more than two months.

"USS JOHN MCCAIN sustained damage to her port side and requested for tug assistance. ALNIC MC sustained damage to her Fore Peak Tank 7m above the waterline, with no crew injuries," the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said in a statement.

"There is no report of oil pollution and traffic in the Singapore Strait is unaffected. MPA is investigating the incident," it added.

Reporting by Masayuki Kitano; Editing by Kim Coghill


Oil tanker hit by USS John S McCain laden with fuel oil; no spill
Channel NewsAsia 21 Aug 17;

SINGAPORE: An oil tanker involved in a collision with the USS John S McCain to the east of Singapore early on Monday (Aug 21) was carrying almost 12,000 tonnes of fuel oil, but there was no oil spill, a crew member told Reuters via phone.

"We are carrying 11,987 tonnes of fuel oil. There is no oil spill. We were carrying fuel oil from Taiwan to discharge to Singapore ... We are proceeding to Raffles Reserved Anchorage where the owners will investigate the matter. There was some damage to the valve," the crew member of the Alnic MC who did not want to be identified told Reuters via telephone.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) lists the Raffles Reserved Anchorage to the South of Bukom Island to be reserved for "vessels requiring emergency repairs and damaged vessels or as directed by the Port Master".

Ten sailors are missing and five are injured from the USS John S McCain after the collision at 5.24am Singapore time, while the US guided-missile destroyer was transiting to a routine port visit in Singapore, according to a statement by the US Navy.

The MPA said it was leading search and rescue operations for the collision that took place in Singapore territorial waters.

Both Singapore and Malaysian authorities have sent ships and aircraft to assist the US Navy in the search and rescue mission.

The Alnic MC sustained damage to her fore peak tank 7m above the waterline, with no crew injuries, and both ships were on their way to Singapore for damage assessment, the MPA said in a statement.

"There is no report of oil pollution and traffic in the Singapore Strait is unaffected. MPA is investigating the incident," the authority said.

The merchant vessel Alnic MC is described as a 180m long Liberian flagged oil and chemical tanker on the MarineTraffic website. It has a deadweight of more than 50,000 tonnes.

According to VesselsValue, which provides shipping and maritime data, the Alnic MC was scheduled to arrive in Singapore at 11am Monday.

The vessel's position at 6.58am Singapore time was at latitude 1.42018 and longitude 104.4326, according to VesselsValue.


It added that the vessel is owned by a Greek company Brave Maritime Corporation and is reportedly worth US$17.36 million (S$23.6 million).

Source: Reuters/CNA/mz


USS John S McCain collision: Singapore will spare no effort to find missing crew members, says MPA
Channel NewsAsia 21 Aug 17;

SINGAPORE: Search and rescue efforts will continue through the night for the 10 US Navy crew members missing after the USS John S McCain an oil tanker collided in Singapore territorial waters, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said in a statement on Monday evening (Aug 21).

"The Singapore authorities will spare no effort to try to find them, and render all possible assistance to our US friends," Mr Andrew Tan, chief executive of MPA said.

"Our thoughts are with the injured and families of the US Navy crew who are currently still missing following the incident in Singapore territorial waters."

Republic of Singapore Navy and Singapore Police Coast Guard vessels have been deployed for the overnight search, MPA said.

About 250 personnel from various agencies have been deployed for the Singapore-led search and rescue operations, MPA said.

Detailing its efforts so far, MPA said it was notified of the collision at about 5.30am on Monday. The RSS Gallant as well as a Police Coast Guard vessel were nearby on patrol when the incident happened, and rendered assistance.

At 6.45am, MPA activated three tugboats and a team of divers and sent them to the scene.

After being notified by the US Navy that there were missing and injured crew members, the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) immediately sent its first Super Puma helicopter to the scene at about 7.40am.

MPA deployed its command vessel at 8am, and the RSS Resilience, as well as another coast guard patrol vessel arrived on the scene at about 9am.

A frigate, the RSS Intrepid, as well as another Super Puma and a Chinook helicopter were also deployed subsequently, MPA said.

In total, the Singapore Armed Forces deployed a frigate, two patrol vessels, two Super Pumas and a Chinook helicopter, and the Police Coast Guard sent two patrol vessels.

As of 6pm, five sorties have been carried out over the area, MPA said.

The agency added that it has been issuing hourly navigational broadcasts to advise passing vessels of the incident, asking them to keep a lookout for any people in the water.

In a Facebook post on Monday evening, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan wrote: "Every SAR (search and rescue) is a heart-wrenching exercise," he wrote. "We hope for good news as we continue the search tonight."

SINGAPORE ACCEPTS ASSISTANCE FROM INDONESIAN AUTHORITIES

MPA added that Singapore has accepted an offer of assistance from Indonesian authorities in search and rescue efforts. Indonesia has deployed a helicopter to search the northern coast line of Bintan island, it said.

The US has also deployed its own assets to take part in ongoing search and rescue efforts, MPA said.

Following the collision, the USS America arrived at Changi Naval Base with US Navy MH-60S helicopters and MV-22 Ospreys to support search operations.

The USS John S McCain is currently berthed at Changi Naval Base and the oil tanker, the Alnic MC is now at Singapore's eastern anchorage for inspections, MPA said.

MPA is investigating the incident, it added.

Source: CNA/dl


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