SINGAPORE: Queen of the Netherlands, a sand dredger, complied with Singapore's port entry and departure requirements, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said Wednesday.
The vessel also complied with the reporting procedures when navigating in the Singapore Strait during the period in question, an MPA spokesperson said in an email reply to Bernama.
MPA was asked whether it was aware of the existence of the dredger as a news report claimed that it “has been spotted sailing back and forth between Johor and southern Singapore along with a sea route well known for its smuggling activity”.
A check by a Malaysian daily on June 28 on the marine traffic website showed that the ship was in Singapore waters and had been there since June 18.
“The movement of the Queen of the Netherlands showed that it exited Malaysian waters on or before June 18 and was travelling between the Changi southern tip and also parts of Jurong Island in Singapore.
“The vessel seems to be making several back-and-forths stops in between its journey last week as Singapore's southern area has several small islands south of Sentosa Island and also Jurong Island,” a source was quoted as saying by the daily.
The source said the southern part of Singapore waters was known to be undergoing land reclamation works involving the merger of smaller islands to form a bigger island for commercial usage.
“If indeed the vessel was carrying sand for Malaysian domestic usage, its passage will bypass the islands and proceed to Johor's west coast near Iskandar Puteri, Kukup or Pontian instead,” said the source, adding that the many stops and travel in Singapore waters were an indicator that something was not right.
Queen of the Netherlands was dubbed the largest and most powerful dredger in the world after lengthening in 2009.
Constructed in 1998, the Dutch Trailing suction hopper dredger is now a 230.71-metre long vessel with a 33,423 gross tonnage. — Bernama