The Straits of Malacca, as one of the world’s busiest waterways, plays a crucial role in international trade and shipping, as well as in the development of the three littoral states of Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Economic growth and development in these three countries, and most notably in the case of Singapore, is heavily dependent on the flows of goods shipped through the Straits. Over the past two decades, strong export-led growth in the Malaysian and Singaporean economies has significantly increased both traffic in the Straits and the volume of goods moving through the major ports of the region. However, the increasing volume of vessel traffic, and the rapid development of the littoral zone in the past three decades, have made the Straits highly vulnerable to seabased pollution.1 This situation is exacerbated by the fact that the waterway is a semi-enclosed sea. It is within the very constricted and busiest southern part of the Straits, with its maze of islands centred on Singapore, that the issues of tracking shipping and marine pollution take on national importance, particularly for the island republic of Singapore.