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S’pore-Batam ferry services suspended for 90 minutes

SINGAPORE — A sudden downturn in the haze this afternoon (Oct 23) caused ferry services between Singapore and Batam to be temporarily suspended, and the authorities warned that air quality tomorrow is likely to fall in the mid to high sections of the unhealthy range.

S’pore-Batam ferry services suspended for 90 minutes

Ferry services between Singapore and Batam were suspended for 90 minutes on Oct 23, 2015. Photo: Ernest Chua

SINGAPORE — A sudden downturn in the haze this afternoon (Oct 23) caused ferry services between Singapore and Batam to be temporarily suspended, and the authorities warned that air quality tomorrow is likely to fall in the mid to high sections of the unhealthy range.

The three-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) reading surged past the 200 mark from 4pm today. It prompted the Batam port master to suspend ferries to Batam Centre — one of the main ports on the Indonesian island — although the suspension was lifted about 90 minutes later, at 5.15pm.

It was the second time this year the haze had caused ferry services to stop. The first was in September.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) said that hazy conditions and reduced visibility are expected to persist tomorrow, with the 24-hour PSI likely to fall in the mid to high sections of the unhealthy range (101-200).

If wind conditions are unfavourable, the reading may enter the low end of the very unhealthy range (201-300).

Despite the thickening haze, only one hotspot was detected in Sumatra as of 5pm today, down from 37 on Thursday, 166 on Wednesday and 356 on Tuesday. The NEA attributed the low hotspot count to a “partial satellite pass” — a situation where a satellite is still passing over the area being monitored — and cloud cover over parts of Sumatra.

The agency added that central and southern Sumatra is still shrouded by “moderate to dense smoke haze” while “widespread dense haze” is observed over Kalimantan. “Some of the haze continues to spread to the surrounding sea areas southeast of Singapore,” the NEA said.

The Singapore Cruise Centre said it will continue to monitor the situation closely and advise all passengers of any further changes to ferry schedules. Passengers can also contact their ferry operators and check the centre’s website to keep up to date on the latest ferry schedule.

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