We thank Forum writers Kuet Ee Yoon (Nominate lighthouses as world heritage sites, June 24), Lee Kit Tong (Lighthouses' heritage status will boost maritime tourism potential, July 3), Harry Ong Heng Poh (Consider lighthouses' safety and access aspects for tourists, July 3), Lee Seng Teik (Build replica of Horsburgh Lighthouse to house a maritime museum, July 7), Tan Teng Han (Lighthouses are worth a visit, so let more people go and not just tourists, July 10) and Feng Lei (Many perks to tapping sea's rich resources, July 10) for their feedback, and are heartened by their interest in Singapore's lighthouses.
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and National Heritage Board (NHB) agree with the writers that Raffles Lighthouse and Horsburgh Lighthouse are an important part of Singapore's maritime heritage.
Both these lighthouses, as well as Sultan Shoal Lighthouse, date from the 19th century and are maintained by MPA.
The lighthouses serve as aids to navigation for vessels plying the Strait of Singapore, and play a critical role in ensuring the safe navigation of ships.
As pointed out by Mr Ong, public access to these fully operational lighthouses is restricted. There are also safety access issues in some instances.
While there is currently no plan to nominate these lighthouses as Unesco world heritage sites, MPA has taken steps to safeguard them as part of Singapore's maritime heritage.
For instance, MPA has kept the structures in the lighthouses in their original state, and retained the equipment used in the operation of the lighthouses that has been superseded by technology over the years. This includes vapour kerosene tanks, lantern lenses and lamps.
To spark interest in Singapore's rich maritime heritage, MPA has also been organising learning journeys for locals to Raffles Lighthouse over the years, while NHB has showcased the Republic's maritime heritage through permanent and special exhibitions at its museums.
We are glad to know that Mr Tan found his visit to Raffles Lighthouse informative and enjoyable.
MPA and NHB will continue to explore how our maritime heritage, as exemplified by these lighthouses, can be better shared with the public.
Thai Low Ying-Huang
Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Director, Preservation of Sites and Monuments division
National Heritage Board