Port authority rolls out new measures for safety at sea

They include safety videos for mariners and ferry passengers, and exchange of best practices
Olivia Ho Straits Times 31 Aug 16;

New initiatives to improve safety at sea were announced yesterday, including safety videos for mariners and ferry passengers and regulations for power-driven craft.

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan gave details of the measures in the opening speech at the inaugural Safety@Sea conference.

More than 350 participants from the shipping industry are expected to attend the two-day event at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel.

Mr Khaw noted that earlier safety campaigns have produced results, with the incident rate falling 75 per cent from 2014 to just one incident last year. "But we are not where we want to be yet," he said. "We have to continue to spare no effort to improve safety at sea."

He cited recent marine incidents, such as an accident earlier this month in which a tanker collided with a container vessel in Singapore waters.

Last November, Indonesia-registered ferry Sea Prince hit a floating object after leaving Batam. A total of 97 people, including 51 Singaporeans, had to be rescued.

Mr Khaw said the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has developed a safety video together with Indonesian and Malaysian maritime authorities to help mariners navigate the Singapore Strait and the Port of Singapore.

Another safety video that the MPA is producing is meant to educate ferry passengers on general safety procedures in an emergency. It will be shown at ferry terminals while people are waiting to board ferries. The MPA is also stepping up regulations for smaller vessels, said Mr Khaw.

It is now mandatory that all power-driven harbour and pleasure craft in Singapore waters are fitted with transponders and electronic chart systems compliant with International Maritime Organisation (IMO) standards.

With this, ocean-going vessels will be able to track even small craft in their vicinity on their electronic charts and vice versa.

Mr Khaw also announced that the MPA plans to set up a community of practice, through which international maritime administrations and non-governmental organisations, such as shipping classification societies, can share best practices.

It will commence in August next year and convene biennially.

MPA chief executive Andrew Tan said: "Safety is everyone's responsibility. You can't just look at the shipping community, at the port organisers, or at international maritime organisations...

"One incident is one incident too many, whether a marine collision or a ferry mishap. We cannot have any such incidents within our very busy, congested port waters."

Singapore will spare no effort to improve maritime safety: Khaw
Channel NewsAsia 30 Aug 16;

SINGAPORE: Singapore is sparing no effort to improve safety at sea, said Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister of Transport Khaw Boon Wan.

Speaking at the inaugural International Safety@Sea Conference on Tuesday (Aug 30), he announced several new initiatives that the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) is working on to make the waterways safer.

These include the development of safety videos with maritime authorities of Indonesia and Malaysia.

The video will form part of a training resource package to equip those unfamiliar with navigating the Singapore Straits and the Port of Singapore with navigational information.

The MPA has also worked to improve the servicing and maintenance of safety equipment on board passenger ferries and the frequency of inspection for regional passenger ferries, in light of the Sea Prince passenger ferry incident in 2015.

A total of 97 people had to be rescued, including 51 Singaporeans when the vessel hit a floating object after leaving the Nongsapura ferry terminal in Batam.

MPA will also be establishing a collaborative platform for international Maritime administrations and other non-governmental organisations to come together to share knowledge and best practices.

This Community of Practice will complement existing forums such as the Co-operative Mechanism and Tripartite Technical Experts Group in "adopting an integrated and multi-stakeholder approach to ensuring safe, efficient and secure navigation", Mr Khaw said.

Mr Khaw added that the efforts of the MPA to build a strong safety culture have yielded results, with only one incident occurring in 2015. This is a 75 per cent fall in incident rate compared to 2014.

"Singapore has always placed strong emphasis on safety at sea. Although we have been doing relatively well, we want to do better," said Mr Khaw.

- CNA/am

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