The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) held a half-day emergency preparedness exercise, codenamed ‘FEREX 2015’ today. The annual ferry exercise (FEREX) aims to test the readiness of various agencies to respond to ferry mishaps in the Port of Singapore.
More than 350 personnel from 10 agencies and companies took part in this full deployment exercise which includes deployment of resources at sea at the Eastern Special Purposes A Anchorage for rescue operations, manning of emergency operations centre at the Port Operations Control Centre at PSA Vista, and landing of casualties and rescued persons at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal.
The exercise scenario involved an outbound regional ferry colliding with an inbound tanker, carrying 13 crew at Ferry Buoy. The ferry was carrying 100 passengers from Singapore to Bintan, Indonesia. As a result of the collision, the ferry’s hull was damaged and it started to take in water. Some passengers were injured while some panicked and jumped into the sea.
The “incident” was reported to MPA’s Marine Safety Control Centre, which in turn activated the multi-agency Ferry Mishap Contingency Plan. A total of 15 craft were dispatched to conduct search and rescue operations and evacuation of injured passengers.
MPA’s Assistant Chief Executive (Operations), Captain M Segar said, “Safety must never be taken for granted and it is our role, as the national maritime agency to ensure that we are operationally ready for exigencies at sea. MPA conducts regular emergency exercises with various agencies and leveraging on these exercises, we can develop greater synergies between our partner agencies through the sharing of best practices.”
Observing the exercise were delegates from the Regional Mass Rescue Operations Workshop, jointly organised in Singapore by the International Maritime Rescue Federation and the MPA, and, international participants attending the Port Management Programme for Harbour Masters and Port Masters conducted by the MPA Academy.
FEREX 2015 was organised in conjunction with Safety@Sea week 2015. A National Maritime Safety at Sea Council was also launched to serve as an advisory body to MPA on safety issues and to help further raise the standards of navigational and on-board safety for the maritime industry.