Cyrene Reef: a special reef in Singapore's port

Cyrene Reef is only revealed at the very lowest spring tides for a few times a year.

It is at this time that intrepid explorers make the brave amphibious landing to get a brief glimpse of the magical marine life on this reef.

Cyrene has stunning seagrass meadows!

Lush and vast, the meadows here are home to all but two of the seagrass species found in Singapore. As a result, Cyrene Reef is one of the primary sites monitored by TeamSeagrass. One of the intriguing seagrasses commonly found on Cyrene Reef is the Noodle seagrass (Syringodium isoestifolium).It has a cylindrical leaf blade and is only also commonly seen on Pulau Semakau.

The seagrasses are full of marinelife, including spectacular sea stars!Cyrene also has fabulous living reefs!
In one survey reported in 1991, Cyrene Reefs was found to have "the highest diversity of hard corals, with 28 genera covering 48.06% of the transect". (from Hsu, L.H.L. and Chou, L.M. 1991. Assessment of reef resources at sites identified for artificial reef establishment in Singapore. abstract on the Food and Agriculture Organisation FAO website)

Cyrene Reef also has stunning sandy shores alive with sea stars and sand dollars!
A reef that's in the way?


Made up three submerged reef flats: Terumbu Pandan, Pandan Beacon and South Cyrene Beacon, Cyrene Reef is ringed by petrochemical plants on Jurong Island and Pulau Bukom.It is also right next to the container terminals on the mainland.The Reef is also along major shipping lanes for huge container ships and other ocean-going vessels.Cyrene Reef is a key maritime crossroads where east-west traffic routes cross north-south traffic routes. In the order of five hundred ships in excess of 5,000 DWT per day transit the waters around the reefs.

The shipping incidents traceable online include:

  • December 1991: a fully loaded 2,680 dwt containership was stranded at the Cyrene Shoal. (from the Kasel Salvage website).
  • 29 Jan 1998: the ferry 'Falcon 5' ran aground on Cyrene Reef in the afternoon as it left World Trade Centre for Kukup (West Malaysia) with 152 passengers and 8 crew (from the MPA website).
  • 5 Dec 1998: the ferry 'Baruna Permai' ran aground at Cyrene Reef in the afternoon, enroute from Singapore to Tanjong Batu, Indonesia with 33 passengers and 7 crew. (from the MPA website).
  • 9 Oct 2000, Cyrene Reef was affected by an oil spill when an oil tanker ran aground off Batu Berhanti Beacon (from the MPA website).
Despite its proximity to industrial installations, Cyrene Reef is full of spectacular marine life that delight shore-lovers who brave the tides to visit.Among some of the amazing finds were new records of sea stars, and wonderful fishes such as this cowfish.
Cyrene in Greek mythology

Various versions of Greek mythology describe Cyrene as an 'extraordinarily beautiful' woman descended from a river god and a nymph. She had a reputation as a huntress who guarded her father's herds from predators and was adept with javelin and sword.

Apollo spied her wrestling a lion alone and bare-handed, and was so impressed that he carried her off and later founded a city in Libya and named it after her. Cyrene is said to have borne one son, who grew up to invent beekeeping.

The future of Cyrene?

Let's hope the Reef takes on the indomitable spirit of its namesake warrior woman, and fights bare-handed with the Lion to stay alive.

You CAN make a difference for Cyrene Reef!

Join the Cyrene Carnival, a blog carnival to celebrate this reef. Even if you've never visited, you can make a comment or post a blog entry about it. More about the carnival on the leafmonkey blog.

Join the facebook group "I want to go to Cyrene Reef!"

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1 comment:

fupper said...

nice article on this little known reef in Singapore. It's a pity that this article is not well known in the blogosphere because it's a real good read.
i hope to be able to visit there someday(though it's quite off limits) :)