• Mohamad Shawkat Hossain Geoscience & Digital Earth Centre (INSTeG), Research Institute for Sustainable Environment, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 UTM Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
  • Mazlan Hashim Faculty of Geoinformation & Real Estate, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 UTM Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia



Earth observatory data, Maritime Silk Road, South East Asia, emerging island, EEZ, maritime pollutions


Malaysia is one of the leading maritime countries surrounded by the South China Sea. Since the emergence of Maritime Silk Road (MSR) concept and its operational implementation, economic growth, development and cooperation, particularly in the context of Southeast Asia (SEA) including Malaysia has enhanced, but simultaneously traffic congestion and tensions in the South China Sea through claiming Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) by the law enforcing agencies of the regional countries have increased. To trade China within SEA, has to follow longer shipping route, linking the mainland of China with ports throughout the Middle East, traversing the South China Sea. Given there are many uncharted and emerging islands in the South China Sea, that still undetected and therefore, delineation of these island boundaries could be a major step forward in reducing maritime tensions. An integrated MSR network plan can be developed through recognizing those islands as potential EEZ for the related regional countries based on international water boundary law suits. The set of initiatives recommended in this paper gives strategic focus to – how earth observatory (EO) data can be used in (1) delineating emerging islands, (2) designing and developing coastal infrastructural facilities, and (3) protecting the integrity of the maritime environment. The future study can emphasize on investigating the potential usefulness of EO data, inter alia optical and radar for mapping emerging islands, possibilities of appearing islands in future based on shallowness predicted from bathymetric and sedimentation data analysis, and forecast opportunities and risks of using those as MSR transportations. The environmental risks associated with water pollution, degradation of coastal habitats, and marine ecosystem health and vulnerabilities can be assessed by analysing current and historical EO data. The particular emphasis should be given on protecting environmental pollution in the effort to introduce the philosophy of sustainable development in the local maritime sector.

Author Biographies

  • Mohamad Shawkat Hossain, Geoscience & Digital Earth Centre (INSTeG), Research Institute for Sustainable Environment, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 UTM Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
  • Mazlan Hashim, Faculty of Geoinformation & Real Estate, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 UTM Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia

    Senior Director

    Research Institute for Sustainable Environment

    Universiti Teknologi Malaysia


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