The Singapore Strait (simplified Chinese: 新加坡海峡; 狮城海峡; traditional Chinese: 新加坡海峽; 溮城海峽; pinyin: Xīnjiāpō Hǎixiá; Shī chéng hǎixiá; Malay and Indonesian: Selat Singapura) is a 105-kilometer long, 16-kilometer wide strait between the Strait of Malacca in the west and the Karimata Strait in the east. Singapore is on the north of the channel and the Riau Islands are on the south. The Indonesia-Singapore border lies along the length of the strait.
Map of the Singapore Strait
|Max. length||105 km (65 mi)|
|Min. width||16 km (9.9 mi)|
|Average depth||22 metres (72 ft) (minimum, within the nautical channel)|
It includes Keppel Harbour and many small islands. The strait provides the deepwater passage to the Port of Singapore, which makes it very busy. Approximately 2,000 merchant ships traverse the waters on a daily basis. The depth of the Singapore Strait limits the maximum draft of vessels going through the Straits of Malacca, and the Malaccamax ship class.
The 9th century AD Muslim author Ya'qubi referred a Bahr Salahit or Sea of Salahit (from the Malay selat meaning strait), one of the Seven Seas to be traversed to reach China. Some have interpreted Sea of Salahit as referring to Singapore, although others generally considered it the Malacca Strait, a point of contact between the Arabs and the Zābaj (likely Sumatra). Among early Europeans travellers to South East Asia, the Strait of Singapore may refer to the whole or the southern portion of the Strait of Malacca as well as other stretches of water. Historians also used the term in plural, "Singapore Straits", to refer to three or four different straits found in recorded in old texts and maps – the Old Strait of Singapore between Sentosa and Telok Blangah, the New Strait of Singapore southwest of Sentosa, the "Governor's Strait" or "Strait of John de Silva" which corresponds to Phillip Channel, and the Tebrau Strait. Today the Singapore Strait refers to the main channel of waterway south of Singapore where the international border between Singapore and Indonesia is located.
The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Singapore Strait as follows:
On the West. The Eastern limit of Malacca Strait [A line joining Tanjong Piai (Bulus), the Southern extremity of the Malay Peninsula (1°16′N 103°31′E) and The Brothers (1°11.5′N 103°21′E) and thence to Klein Karimoen (1°10′N 103°23.5′E)].
Pilot guides and charts
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Around 2,000 merchant ships travel in the area every day, Tan estimated.
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