The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) launched the first-ever International Safety@Sea Conference in Singapore today. The conference will run for two days and concludes on 31 August 2016. Held as part of Safety@Sea Week, over 30 international speakers and industry experts from different sectors of the maritime industry came together to share best safety at sea practices with more than 350 local and international participants.
Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure & Minister for Transport Mr Khaw Boon Wan officiated the opening ceremony and announced that MPA will establish a ‘Community of Practice’ (CoP) comprising international maritime administrations, national safety councils and classification societies to share knowledge and best practices, as well as collaborate on promoting safety at sea. The CoP will commence in August 2017 and convene biennially.
The conference also saw Mr Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), giving a keynote address entitled “Building a Resilient Safety@Sea Culture”. Mr Lim highlighted the importance of inculcating a safety-first culture throughout the global shipping community. He also stressed the importance of training and career development, and shared some challenges the shipping industry faces such as manpower issues. This is Mr Lim’s first visit to Singapore since he took over as Secretary-General of IMO in January 2016.
Mr Andrew Tan, Chief Executive of MPA said, “Recent marine incidents around the world leading to loss of lives, loss of vessels and environmental damage underscore the importance of maritime safety. Singapore hopes to play our part by working with the regional and international community to raise the standards of safety. This year, we are organising the inaugural International Safety@Sea Conference to focus attention on this issue and promote a culture of safety awareness. By building a community of good practice, we hope to disseminate best practices and foster closer cooperation between maritime authorities to prevent and respond to these incidents when they occur by adopting an integrated and multi-stakeholder approach.”
A three-part training resource package, “Safe Passage in the Singapore Strait”, was also launched at the event. The training package comprises two videos and an interactive computer-based training module aimed at equipping mariners with valuable navigational information before transiting the Singapore Strait. This package was developed jointly by the maritime authorities of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. BIMCO, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and National Maritime Safety at Sea Council of Singapore (NMSSC) also contributed to the production of the videos. (Please see Annex A for more information on the “Safe Passage in the Singapore Strait” training package)
Mr Hector Goh, Senior Marine Manager of Hai Soon Ship Management Pte Ltd shared, “We have participated in MPA’s Safety@Sea Week for the last two years and found that the safety workshops and forums provided opportunities for the maritime community to get together and share information and best practices. We look forward to learn from renowned experts at this year’s international conference. We hope that MPA continues with these programmes which are extremely beneficial to the maritime community.”
In addition to the two-day conference, participants are also able to attend post-conference workshops, observe a ferry rescue exercise, and visit MPA’s Port Operations Control Centre and the Integrated Simulation Centre.
MPA organises the Safety@Sea Week annually to enhance maritime safety by raising safety awareness and instilling a safety-first culture. This year, Safety@Sea Week runs from 29 August to 2 September 2016.