Port authority rolls out new measures for safety at sea

From left: IMO secretary- general Kitack Lim, Mr Khaw, Mr Tan and National Maritime Safety at Sea Council chairman Richard Lim at the inaugural conference.
From left: IMO secretary- general Kitack Lim, Mr Khaw, Mr Tan and National Maritime Safety at Sea Council chairman Richard Lim at the inaugural conference.ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI

They include safety videos for mariners and ferry passengers, and exchange of best practices

New initiatives to improve safety at sea were announced yesterday, including safety videos for mariners and ferry passengers and regulations for power-driven craft.

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan gave details of the measures in the opening speech at the inaugural Safety@Sea conference.

More than 350 participants from the shipping industry are expected to attend the two-day event at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel.

Mr Khaw noted that earlier safety campaigns have produced results, with the incident rate falling 75 per cent from 2014 to just one incident last year. "But we are not where we want to be yet," he said. "We have to continue to spare no effort to improve safety at sea."

He cited recent marine incidents, such as an accident earlier this month in which a tanker collided with a container vessel in Singapore waters.

Last November, Indonesia-registered ferry Sea Prince hit a floating object after leaving Batam. A total of 97 people, including 51 Singaporeans, had to be rescued.

Mr Khaw said the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has developed a safety video together with Indonesian and Malaysian maritime authorities to help mariners navigate the Singapore Strait and the Port of Singapore.

Another safety video that the MPA is producing is meant to educate ferry passengers on general safety procedures in an emergency. It will be shown at ferry terminals while people are waiting to board ferries. The MPA is also stepping up regulations for smaller vessels, said Mr Khaw.

It is now mandatory that all power-driven harbour and pleasure craft in Singapore waters are fitted with transponders and electronic chart systems compliant with International Maritime Organisation (IMO) standards.

With this, ocean-going vessels will be able to track even small craft in their vicinity on their electronic charts and vice versa.

Mr Khaw also announced that the MPA plans to set up a community of practice, through which international maritime administrations and non-governmental organisations, such as shipping classification societies, can share best practices.

It will commence in August next year and convene biennially.

MPA chief executive Andrew Tan said: "Safety is everyone's responsibility. You can't just look at the shipping community, at the port organisers, or at international maritime organisations...

"One incident is one incident too many, whether a marine collision or a ferry mishap. We cannot have any such incidents within our very busy, congested port waters."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 31, 2016, with the headline 'Port authority rolls out new measures for safety at sea'. Print Edition | Subscribe