Singapore Authorities Form Maritime Safety Group

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By The Maritime Executive 2016-08-30 21:16:43

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has kicked off a new international safety initiative meant to reduce marine casualties in Singapore’s waters, which are among the busiest in the world.

The announcement of the authority's "community of practice" industry initiative coincides with the nation's Safety@Sea Week 2016, which runs until September 2. This year, MPA has organized a two-day safety conference featuring addresses by IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim and Singapore's Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan. 

Most of the conference's workshops were fully subscribed as of Tuesday, and the MPA said that it expected 350 representatives of industry and government to attend. 

In his opening address, Minister Khaw said that while maritime safety in the Singapore Strait has improved since the first Safety@Sea Week in 2014, "we have to continue to spare no effort to improve safety at sea." He noted the collision between the VLCC Dream II and the container ship MSC Alexandra earlier this month as an example of the need for continued vigilance. 

To build on the conference's results, Singapore plans a series of biennial working group meetings to share best practices and lessons learned among governmental and NGO bodies, such as the IMO, the MPA and the class societies. 

“Recent marine incidents around the world leading to loss of lives, loss of vessels and environmental damage underscore the importance of maritime safety," said Andrew Tan, MPA's chief executive. "By building a community of good practice, we hope to disseminate best practices and foster closer cooperation between maritime authorities to prevent and respond to these incidents when they occur by adopting an integrated and multi-stakeholder approach.”  

MPA also announced a new three-part training package for mariners giving an overview of the Singapore Strait. The training, comprised of two videos and an interactive computer-based  module, is intended to give navigators an introduction to the strait and what is required to make a safe passage. It was produced by the maritime authorities of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore with additional contributions from BIMCO, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and National Maritime Safety at Sea Council of Singapore (NMSSC).

The authority also has a video intended to raise safety awareness for ferry passengers. In addition, Singapore has recently acted to require AIS on motorized pleasure craft in its waters, making small boat traffic more visible to merchant vessels.