SINGAPORE: Singapore will proceed with planned development works at Pedra Branca in accordance with international law, the Ministry of National Development said on Monday (Jul 5).
The development works, previously announced in 2019, are to enhance maritime safety and security, as well as improve search and rescue capabilities in the area.
The works will be carried out within 0.5 nautical miles of Pedra Branca and in Singapore's territorial waters.
MND said Singapore had considered undertaking these development works as far back as the 1970s. However, they were postponed in view of the legal dispute between Singapore and Malaysia regarding the sovereignty over Pedra Branca, Middle Rocks and South Ledge.
“The International Court of Justice awarded sovereignty over Pedra Branca to Singapore in 2008. The ICJ in its Judgment expressly noted that Singapore had plans for reclamation at Pedra Branca.
“With the discontinuance of Malaysia’s applications for revision and interpretation of the ICJ’s Judgment in 2018, Singapore will now proceed with these development works,” said MND.
As part of the development works, land reclamation will be carried out at Pedra Branca by the Housing & Development Board (HDB), added the ministry.
Pedra Branca is an island located near the eastern entrance of the Strait of Singapore, about 24 nautical miles east of mainland Singapore.
MND said Singapore has undertaken capability and infrastructural upgrades at Pedra Branca to meet the country’s requirements over time.
“Today, besides the Horsburgh Lighthouse, Pedra Branca also hosts facilities for the Vessel Traffic Information System, a helipad, a desalination plant, a communications tower and rebroadcast station.
“The planned development works will improve these facilities, provide berthing for vessels at Pedra Branca, and additional logistics, administrative support and communications facilities. This will enable our agencies to carry out their duties in a safer and more effective manner,” added MND.
An environmental study has been carried out to assess the potential impact of the works on the surrounding marine environment and ecology, as well as on the safety of navigation in the relevant waters.
MND said the study determined that environmental impact to the area can be minimised with the implementation of appropriate mitigating measures.
Measures will also be put in place to ensure that the works will not affect the navigational safety of vessels in the area.