MPA: Drop in major incidents in Singapore waters, but safety still important

SINGAPORE - The number of major incidents in Singapore's waters has fallen over the years but safety standards must be maintained as more vessels are calling here, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said on Thursday.

There were six major incidents in waters here last year, down from eight such incidents in 2012 and 13 in 2011. Major incidents include those where there were loss of lives, ferry or passenger ship mishaps, and oil or chemicals spills that required multiple agencies to clean up.

This drop contrasts against the sharp increase in vessel arrivals here in 2013: the annual vessel arrival tonnage was a record 2.33 billion gross tonnes last year.

The MPA shared these figures at the launch of its inaugural Safety@Sea campaign yesterday, where it aims to raise awareness of safe practices and inculcate a safety-first culture at sea.

"At any one time, we have 1,000 ships in our waters," said MPA chief executive Andrew Tan at the launch. "It is imperative that all of us work closely together to raise the level of awareness of navigational safety and promote good safety practices in the shipping community."

The campaign will see MPA extend safety outreach efforts beyond harbour and pleasure craft crew to include ship masters, bridge teams and crew members, distribute information kits to members of the shipping community, and recognise exemplary companies and vessels with safety awards. It will also step up spot checks on vessels to ensure that safety standards and maintenance of safety equipment are complied with, although no numbers were given.

"We will continue with our enforcement efforts to ensure the compliance of rules and regulations, with a greater emphasis on navigational and ship board safety," said Mr Tan.

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