With nearly 4800 kilometers of coastline, Malaysia is particularly exposed to marine oil pollution. Nearly 60,000 ships transited the Straits of Malacca annually and the depth at One Fathom Bank is barely six feet. The Malacca Straits is congested with shipping and many cases of piracy had occurred. Imagine a scenario where a laden crude oil tanker were to run aground or collide with another ship for whatever reason, and release thousands of barrels of crude oil. Unlike the Prestige incident, the littoral states cannot tow the stricken tanker to deep water and sink it there. We have seen that the action or inaction of a littoral state can jeopardise the coastline of the entire region.

The Malaysian National Oil Spill Contingency Plan (NOSCP) was formulated to control oil spill occurring within Malaysian waters, including the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) located within the Straits of Malacca and South China Sea, as well as Brunei Bay, Sabah and Sarawak waters and the Sulawesi Sea. The NOSCP aligns with the ASEAN Oil Spill Response Action Plan (ASEAN - OSRAP) for regional cooperation to deal with transboundary oil spills in the Straits of Malacca and bordering Asean countries.

However, the ASEAN-OSRAP is yet to be tested under real Tier-3 oil spill conditions.

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