We, a group of Singapore sea lovers with sea-related careers, were very encouraged by Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung's speech at the opening ceremony of the 15th Singapore Maritime Week (Global centre to lower shipping emissions to be set up in S'pore, April 20).
We were particularly excited about this part of his message: "get our young to love the sea".
Mr Ong suggested that the maritime sector cultivate young people's love for the sea and be less focused on selling specific professions and roles in the sector, so as to attract talent to the sector.
We believe his suggestion is a sustainable human resource development philosophy for the maritime workforce, and will go a long way to help the sector prevail despite the constantly changing environment and systems.
There are many young people who love the sea in their own ways, as seen by the many sea-related interest groups, associations and societies here, as well as the various business ventures and programmes on offer to get people to go out and explore the waters around Singapore.
However, it seems that those responsible for outreach, recruitment and development of maritime-related professions have not been able to attract these sea lovers into the industry.
We hope the relevant agency leading the development of the maritime workforce could form a maritime manpower review task force to examine the possibility holistically.
Kuet Ee Yoon
Co-Founder of Singapore Maritime Heritage Interest Group