We want to encourage more ships to take the lane."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Natural Resources Rizal Ramli said the Lombok straight and the Makassar strait could take over the role as the main sea trading lane from the Malacca Strait in the world.

The Malacca strait has been too crowded and the risk of ships collision is high as the lane is too narrow and getting shallower, Ramli said here on Monday.

Giant oil and LNG tankers and container ships pass back and forth every day through the Malacca strait and the number is growing from year to year, Ramli told lawmakers at a meeting.

He predicted in 10-20 years the Malacca strait is no longer safe as a sea trade lane , adding it is too narrow to accommodate large vessels and sustain heavier traffic.

The Lombok strait offers the most feasible alternative for international shipping lane between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, he said.

Ships from the Indian ocean could cross to the Pacific via Lombok strait and Makassar strait and the Bitung sea in the north before entering the Philippines waters.

The lane is safer for large vessels as the two straits are wider and deeper, Ramli said.

"The lane is deeper and wider that there would be less risk of sea accidents and damage to the environment from oil spill," he said.

He said in fact many large ships and tankers already chose to take the lane via Lombok strait.

"We want to encourage more ships to take the lane," he said, adding the country would benefit if more ships would pass through the strait.

Maintenance facilities would be needed and other service business would spring up especially in eastern Indonesia, he said.

He said he had sought to approach Greece , which controls 30 percent of the worlds shipping industry.

"We need to lobby big players in global shipping industry such as Greece , Norway and Denmark," he said, adding he met with Greek shipping industrialists recently.

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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