||12-23-2007 04:17 AM
Singapore has always been difficult, in the past giving visitors only a two-week visa. Just before we left in 2002 they were issuing longer visas for US citizens, and perhaps (I'm not sure) others. Singapore is surrounded by people who don't like Singaporeans very much, and it's a very little piece of land that cannot feed itself and relies on an occasionally hostile Malaysia for its water. They must be ever vigilant and have courted the US who needs a welcoming harbor in that part of the world now that the Philippines doesn't want the US there. How much of the latest regulations are at the urging of the US, I wonder?
I think that there are so many issues here in addition to Singapore's immigration issues. It is an incredibly busy shipping port in an area that is, justifiably or not, notorious for pirates. Considering the nervousness of ships in the area and the increased presence of US military vessels, I can understand their requirement for AIS transponders on all boats. I wonder if the local malaysian fishing boats will be required to have AIS transponders. I doubt it.
No matter, only once did we check into Singapore in our boat. It is much easier to check into Malaysia. We anchored off the police dock in Johore Bahru, checking into Malaysia and taking the bus into Singapore when we wanted to get things there. Friendly people, the Malaysians there.