The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) is working on an acceptance criteria for using remote inspection techniques such as drones to carry out ship surveys.
The criteria, which applies to Singapore-registered ships, will likely be rolled out in the first quarter of next year, said MPA chief executive Andrew Tan.
He told the Singapore Registry of Ships (SRS) Forum yesterday that the MPA has already conducted several trials using drones for ship surveys.
"Such methods of remote inspection are safer because marine surveyors do not have to put themselves in precarious positions on board the ship to conduct inspections," he noted. "The use of drones also reduces man hours and costs for ship owners - it is a win-win situation for all."
The new acceptance criteria will spell out the conditions in which the use of drones for ship surveys will be acceptable to SRS, such as the type of surveys and the condition of the ships.
Using remote inspection methods was just one of a range of service enhancements unveiled at the forum that will benefit more than 4,600 ships flying the Singapore flag.
By the year end, the MPA will issue e-certificates directly to Singapore-registered ships in addition to those issued by recognised organisations.
This will place Singapore among the first flag administrations in Asia to issue e-certificates, which help to save time and costs.
The MPA has also expanded Marinet, its Internet-based e-commerce system, to include two new online services: one is to apply for ship registration and the appointment of managers; and the other is for applying for various documents issued by the SRS.
In addition, owners, managers and operators of Singapore-registered ships can now call the MPA's new 24/7 customer service hotline for urgent cases relating to crewing, registry and technical matters.
Mr Tan noted that the Internet of Things, digitalisation and new technologies, such as blockchain and smart drones, are changing the way the world works.
"To stay ahead, the Singapore Registry of Ships needs to embrace these technologies to offer value-added services to its customers," he said. "As a responsible flag administration, we will continue to find new ways to promote clean, efficient and sustainable shipping."
The MPA also inked a memorandum of understanding at the event with Global Compact Network Singapore to encourage more maritime companies to comply with the Singapore Exchange's (SGX) mandatory sustainability reporting requirements.
The agreement seeks to provide Singapore-incorporated maritime companies listed on the SGX with training on sustainability reporting, and is expected to benefit about 43 firms.