Six patrol vessels equipped with multi-sensor marine thermal cameras, chemical gas detectors and drones were launched yesterday as part of the Republic's thrust to keep its waters safe.
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said in a statement that the 17m vessels will replace the existing fleet which has been in service since 2012.
Senior Minister of State for Transport and Foreign Affairs Chee Hong Tat attended the launch. He told The Straits Times that the MPA had worked with local company Lita Ocean to build the vessels.
He added that through such partnerships, the Government helps support local companies in an economy that has been badly hit by Covid-19.
Mr Chee said: “Working with local companies is also something which started before Covid-19 and we want to continue doing post-Covid.”
He added: “The main objective is to provide more opportunities through government projects for local companies with good products and services to demonstrate their capabilities and build up track records, which can help them to expand their business in Singapore and overseas.”
The new vessels, which have already been deployed, made an appearance at the maritime sail-past during the National Day Parade yesterday, along with other vessels from the Republic of Singapore Navy, Police Coast Guard and the Singapore Civil Defence Force.
It was the first time the MPA has taken part in a National Day Parade sail-past.
The sail-past returned after a 20-year hiatus to underscore the importance of maritime agencies that have been keeping Singapore's waters safe and supply chains secure during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The authority said that the new vessels are equipped with predictive capabilities using both real-time and historical data to "carry out targeted enforcement and response mitigation".
Mr Chee said that the new vessels are more durable and resilient compared with their predecessors and they come with more compact equipment.
He added that they are designed to help MPA officers better carry out their tasks - from responding to oil spills to search-and-rescue operations.
The vessels have a rescue boat fitted with a man overboard recovery system and their towing capabilities can support search-and-rescue operations. Their dispersant spray system and containment booms allow them to respond to oil spills too.
"Integrating data analytics with onboard surveillance, navigation and communication systems also improves information relay from the craft to shore-based command centres and increases MPA port inspectors' situational awareness of ground activities," the MPA said.
MPA port master Kevin Wong said that officers' feedback was integral to the design of the vessels.
He added that "MPA consistently explores and adopts new technology to meet our operational needs and improve our front-line capabilities".