Ensure preparedness for maritime crises

Yesterday's report ("Ferry from Batam hits floating object") brings to mind Seoul's Sewol and Yangtze's Eastern Star ferry disasters ("300 feared dead in S. Korean ferry sinking"; April 17, 2014, and "435 missing after cruise ship sinks in Yangtze"; June 3).

Since the Singapore Strait and the surrounding seas are busy sea lanes, I hope the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) are able to launch rescues at short notice if a vessel turns turtle in our waters or nearby.

Equally important is to have lit buoys to demarcate the sea routes like pathways for safe navigation, and GPS surveillance equipment to enhance our maritime security.

Nonetheless, we should study and learn from the recent ferry disasters in South Korea and China and be ready for emergency situations at all times.

I hope our SCDF and MPA have adequate equipment, are well trained to keep a stricken vessel afloat with heavy-lift buoys and are able to pump fresh air in to keep survivors alive for a few more hours.

Time is of the essence in a rescue mission. We must not be found wanting in saving lives.

Tan Kok Tim

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 02, 2015, with the headline 'Ensure preparedness for maritime crises'. Print Edition | Subscribe