Leading our team of professional Marine Advisors is our Chief Marine Advisor and Managing Director of StrasseLink Pte Ltd, Capt Fadzlon Ahmad. With his vast exposure and experience as a pilot and trainer, Capt Fadzlon is a pioneer in the Malacca and Singapore Straits business as he had assisted in developing and formalising the service for the International Shipping community from way back in 2000.
Heavy traffic conditions in the Singapore Straits
Recognising the importance in assisting deeply laden and sensitive vessels navigate the narrow waterways of Malacca and Singapore Straits, Capt. Fadzlon Ahmad MD of StrasseLink, did development study for Malacca Straits pilotage services back in 1999. It was noted that the Straits Pilotage service could offer optimal professional support and nautical assistance for the Captains who are not familiar with navigating in the constrained waters. The service would contribute to the overall navigational safety for all users in the Straits and also help in the protection of environment of the littoral nations bordering the Malacca and Singapore Straits.
Apart from being consultant to a number of Oil majors on Malacca Straits matters, he now guides StrasseLink’s Marine Advisors with the proper knowledge and manner in which to conduct a vessel safely along the Malacca and Singapore Straits.
StrasseLink is able to provide their service to many types of vessels, including VLCCs, LNG carriers, oil rigs and FPSOs. The Marine Advisors have detailed knowledge of waters in the Singapore and Malacca Straits, including the relevant ports and traffic separation schemes (TSS). They keep up to date with current developments and other issues introduced by the littoral states of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
Incidents in the Straits could involve collisions, contacts, founderings, strandings, fire, engine troubles, bilgings and leakages.
An analysis of the types of vessels involved in a maritime casualty indicates that almost every type of ship plying the Malacca and Singapore Strait is prone to accidents.
Almost all types of ships have their share of casualties. The fact that a ship is properly designed, constructed, equipped and maintained does not guarantee safety.
Capt. Fadzlon conducting safety inspection on a vessel
The human element is the most important factor. Voluntary adherence to international safety standards and procedures has not been reassuring and has caused a situation which can best be described as “an accident waiting to happen”. Although the introduction of Traffic Separation Schemes (TSS) had helped significantly in the regulation of traffic, with the various types of vessels going at different speeds and manned by crews exercising different standards, the risk of collision and grounding is still very high.
It is well recognised that the human element is a significant factor in a number of maritime casualties.
In order to prevent human error becoming the contributing factor to an incident, Ship owners and Master should be mindful of stress and fatigue management.
Officers and Crew should not be subjected to long hours of watchkeeping which can lead to a degradation of human performance, a slowing down of physical and mental reflexes and an impairment of the ability to make rational judgements. This also applies to Masters of ships who may not be able to excuse himself from the responsibility of being on the bridge during long Straits and river transits.
Ships with few watchkeepers, usually including the Master, when transiting the Strait would be hard-pressed to provide an effective bridge watchkeeping team. The demand of doubling the watch if required would cause their officers to work on very strenuous schedules.
In situations like these, the vessel managers or Charterers should look into available services which can provide assistance to the vessel Masters such that the Captains would have the opportunity to be rested and be fit mentally and physically to meet the challenges when it arises.
StrasseLink Marine Advisors at work
Benefits of Marine Advisors:
- Increased safety - Our Marine Advisors relieve Master and crew of fatigue and navigational stress.
- Passage Planning - The Marine Advisor’s local knowledge and experience ensure vessels arrive at destinations on time and at minimum cost. All of our Marine Advisors carry their own electronic chart systems and independent GPS.
- Reporting procedures - Our Marine Advisors have detailed knowledge of all local and national IMO reporting requirements within the littoral states and have the ability to speak both English as their first language, and the native language of the locals.
- Reduction of insurance risk - Employing Marine Advisors reduces shipping risks and improves insurance claim records.