All 3,000 licensed harbour and pleasure craft in Singapore will soon be required to carry transponders in a move to further enhance the security of the Republic's port waters. This is to enable the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) to identify and track their movements. Bigger vessels are already required by the IMO International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code to carry Automatic Identification System transponders.
MPA says a transponder system called the Harbour Craft Transponder System, or HARTS, has been specially developed for smaller craft. It can transmit the identity, position, course and speed of the craft to shore-based authorities and allows the use of existing telecommunications infrastructure (GPRS network) for transmission of data from the transponder unit to the shore-based control centres. This includes a security code, which requires all harbour craft in the port to undertake security measures such as for access control, navigation, communications and ship-to-port facility activities. Other features include a panic button to alert the shore-based authorities in the event of a security threat. The government will bear the cost of fitting the HARTS on all affected vessels.