MPA and ReCAAP ISC Organise Inaugural Anti-Piracy Meeting and Workshop, 11-12 January 2017

To bring together anti-piracy contact points and information sharing centres from Africa, Asia and Europe, MPA partnered with the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) Information Sharing Centre (ISC) to co-organise the inaugural Anti-Piracy Meeting and Workshop. This was conducted with the objectives of establishing contact and promoting greater networking among the contact points so as to facilitate effective communication and timely information sharing.

The Anti-Piracy Meeting and Workshop was also part of Singapore’s continued contributions to international efforts to counter piracy and armed robbery against ships in vital shipping lanes in Africa and Asia. Local and international participants included the International Maritime Organization (IMO), International Maritime Bureau (IMB), the Republic of Singapore Navy’s Information Fusion Centre (IFC) and the Singapore Police Coast Guard. The Meeting and Workshop also included a dedicated session with the shipping industry.

The discussions and presentations covered:

  1. The structure, functions and scope of operations of the various anti-piracy reporting centres;
  2. Co-operative regional reporting and information sharing mechanisms such as ReCAAP in Asia, and the Djibouti Code of Conduct in the East African region;
  3. Case studies, including lessons learnt, of incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships; and
  4. Industry-Government co-operation.

The event also facilitated the exchange of best practices in efforts to tackle piracy and armed robbery against ships.

MPA will be collating and circulating a list of the various anti-piracy contact points and ISCs which had participated. The contact information in the list will be updated regularly to ensure that they remain up to date. Once ready, this list will be shared with the shipping community to ensure that the right contact point can be reached in the event of an emergency. MPA will also explore future arrangements where such exchanges on anti-piracy information sharing are conducted on a regular basis.

IMO Regional Training for Pacific Community Flag State Inspectors Held in Suva, Fiji

Under the auspices of the Singapore-IMO MOU on Third Country Training Programme (TCTP), experienced ship surveyor Mr Zahir Abuthalib represented the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) in facilitating the IMO Regional Training for Flag State Inspectors in Suva, Fiji from 24 to 28 September 2016.

The aim of the training is to assist the Flag State Administrations of the Pacific Islands in improving the ability of their ship inspectors to efficiently implement and enforce international and domestic regulations on ship safety, pollution prevention and maritime security as part of their implementation responsibilities as a Flag State.

A total of 14 officers from 10 Pacific Island States1 participated in the training course.

The training covered classroom lectures, group case studies and practical shipboard inspection on board two domestic general cargo ships. Mr Zahir shared on MPA’s Flag State control programmes and facilitated the group case studies. During shipboard inspections, he guided the participants on good practices for the preparation and conduct of ship inspections. Numerous deficiencies found during the inspections were highlighted for discussion. These included common deficiencies such as defective tank ventilators, seized closing devices for engine room ventilators as well as defective fire doors and fire dampers. Other deficiencies pertaining to illegal modification of oily water separator piping, defective sewage treatment plant, seizure of bilge eductor valves and missing engine room structural fire protection which were not picked up by the participants during the inspections were highlighted and shared at the end of the inspections.

At the end of the training, the Deputy Director of the Pacific Community, Mr Thierry Nervale, thanked all the participants and IMO trainers for their attendance. In his closing remarks, Mr Thierry Nervale expressed his intention to invite MPA again to conduct similar training courses in the future.

Ferry Safety Workshop 2016

2016 was a busy year for improving the safety of ferries in Singapore. MPA conducted a workshop for all ferry operators on 22 December 2016 to update them on the various measures taken to enhance ferry safety programmes in MPA as well as the results of its inspection campaigns on regional and port-limit ferries.

The workshop, held at the MPA Academy, was well attended by 39 senior staff from all regional and port-limit ferry operators in Singapore, as well as three classification societies (ABS, BV and LR).

All participants were briefed on the following:

  • Improvements made to MPA’s inspection and survey regimes for Singapore ferries and approved liferaft servicing stations;
  • Various stakeholder engagement activities such as annual ferry exercises, the Safety@Sea conference and workshops, regular safety briefings and dialogues;
  • Joint projects between MPA and the Association of Regional Ferry Operators (ARFO) on enhanced lifejacket receptacle, quick-and-easy-to-don lifejackets, enhancement of ferry evacuation equipment and common safety video template for regional ferries;
  • Results of the inspection campaigns on regional and port-limit ferries in 2016 and areas identified for improvement; and
  • Recommended method for continual improvement of ferry safety standards

To conclude the session, participants took part in group exercises and made use of the knowledge gained during the workshop to analyse the underlying causes of common deficiencies on ferries. The groups also discussed appropriate corrective actions to improve companies’ safety management processes and prevent their recurrences.

Ships Rescue@Sea

On 3 June 2016, Singapore-registered ship TERASEA OSPREY received a call from JRCC Piraeus, Greece, to assist in the rescue of refugees at the south of Crete Island, Greece. The vessel rescued a total of 65 refugees. The survivors were safely disembarked at Port Said, Egypt, on 8 June 2016, under instruction from the Egyptian authorities. MPA would like to compliment the officers and crew of TERASEA OSPREY for their gallant efforts extended in rescuing the 65 refugees.

On 14 June 2016, the Singapore-registered ship SOUTHERN LILY responded to MRCC New Zealand to assist a distressed sailing vessel. The three survivors were rescued and were safely disembarked at Auckland. MPA would like to compliment the officers and crew of SOUTHERN LILY for their brave seamanship and quick response to the distress call.

On 19 July 2016, Singapore-registered ship OCEAN OUTBACK, while in the Malacca Strait, noticed a man overboard. The crew managed to rescue the sole survivor, who had been in the waters for the three days. MPA would like to compliment the officers and crew of OCEAN OUTBACK for their gallant efforts in saving the man‘s life.

Following MRCC Rome‘s instructions, Singapore-registered ship VOS CHABLIS rescued a total of 833 persons in two separate operations on 31 Aug 2016 and on 1 Sep 2016. The crew of VOS CHABLIS assisted Italian naval officers in a refugee recovery operation, before assisting a distressed vessel in Libyan waters on the second day. The survivors of both operations were safely disembarked at Corigliano Calabro on 4 Sep 2016, under instruction from the Italian authorities. MPA would like to thank the master and crew of VOS CHABLIS for their gallant efforts in rescuing the 833 persons.

On 7 Dec 2016, Singapore-registered ship ANNE received call from a VLCC to assist in the rescue operation of three survivors in the Strait of Malacca. The crew of ANNE successfully rescued the three survivors and safely disembarked them in the rendezvous position given by MRCC Bandar Aceh, Indonesia. MPA would like to express our appreciation to the master and crew of ANNE for answering the distress call and lending a helping hand.

On 1 January 2017, the crew of Singapore-registered ship THALASSA AXIA spotted survivors in a plastic container floating on the waters. The crew managed to rescue four survivors from the water, who had been drifting since their boat sank on 19 Dec 2016. MPA would like to compliment the officers and crew of THALASSA AXIA for their vigilance and courage during a critical time of need.


MPA’s Annual Year-End Appreciation Dinner for Seafarers

It is an annual tradition for MPA to host a year-end dinner for our seafarers to express appreciation for their contribution in supporting the world trade and growth. Industrial partners such as seafarers‘ unions, missions and companies who have given their support to the well-being of seafarers were also invited to a sumptuous buffet dinner and an evening of fun and games.

This year‘s appreciation dinner was held on 13 December 2016 at the Maritime House, with BG (NS) Ismail Ishak, Chair of the Welfare Committee for Seafarers as the Guest of Honour. A total of 150 participants from 5 ships and 33 local maritime organisations/institutions and shipping companies took part in the event. MPA would like to express our appreciation to all industrial partners for the active participation in seafarers‘ welfare programs.

Singapore’s Initiative on the Use of Electronic Certificates Onboard to Reduce Administrative Burden

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) advocates the maritime industry‘s transformation towards smarter ships and intelligent ports so as to facilitate greater administrative and operational efficiencies for all stakeholders. To reduce administrative burden caused by reliance on traditional paper certificates, the MPA has, on 30th November 2016, announced that its Recognised Organisations (RO) are encouraged to start issuing Electronic Certificates (E-Certs) for Singapore ships and companies operating Singapore ships, when they are ready to do so.

MPA has approved four Singapore flagged ships2 classed under DNV GL to begin the use of E-Certs in place of the traditional paper certificates. These ships are managed by Swire Pacific Offshore and Rickmers Ship Management (Singapore) Pte Ltd.

We are very pleased to partner with MPA on the proof of concept for the issuance of the first digital certificates on their behalf to our customers, said Steen Brodsgaard Lund, Regional Manager at DNV GL for South East Asia, India and Oceania. This initiative is a significant step towards digitalisation in the maritime sector and is a live example of our efforts to digitalise our service deliveries and customer interfaces. Electronic class and statutory certificates will enable greater data safety, more time and cost efficient administration, as well as an improved planning of all processes impacted by the class certification process. We look forward to continuing to work with MPA to ensure a quick uptake of digital certificates across the whole maritime industry.

The E-Certs issued has been assessed by MPA to be in full compliance with the IMO FAL Committee guidance for the use of E-Certs (FAL.5/Circ.39/Rev.2) and contains security features that make the E-Certs tamper-proof, non-editable and only issuable under authorisation. The use of E-Certs will also facilitate port entry/clearance and Port State Control inspections through the ease of receipt and robust authentication of the validity of the certificates.

Rickmers Ship Management (Singapore) Pte Ltd, who has responded to this initiative presented by new digital technology, said, This leading initiative by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore is welcomed because it will achieve centralised control of certificate issuance and renewal, reduce the administrative costs for dispatching paper certificates to vessels, and ultimately benefit seafarers and the industry in general, as envisaged by the FAL Convention. Rickmers are pleased to have been chosen by MPA Singapore and Class DNVGL to work on such pioneering projects. The preliminary roll-out of the electronic certificates on the pilot vessels has been smoothly managed, which is a credit to the efficiency of the stakeholders in this project. Swire Pacific Offshore Operations (Pte) Ltd also shared similar sentiments and said that This pilot project gives us the chance to gain experience in handling E-Certs both ashore and on board the vessels, making it easier to prepare ourselves for the fleet-wide introduction in future. The change-over process on board our two vessels was straightforward and reduces the problems that we are having with paper certificates considerably. DNV GL has given us excellent guidance during this pilot project and we would like to thank them and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore for letting us be part of it.

Efforts to promote the use and recognition of E-Certs

MPA will continue its efforts to work with the relevant authorities from other ports to promote the use and recognition of E-Certs. The experience gained from the use of E-Certs will also help in promoting its use and for more stakeholders of the industry, including maritime administrations, to reap the benefits from the digitisation of the maritime industry.

Regional Workshop on the Ratification and Implementation of the Hong Kong Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009 (HKC)

The Hong Kong Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009 (the Hong Kong Convention) aims towards safe and sound ship recycling by taking into account the whole life cycle of the ship, through prohibiting or limiting the use of potentially dangerous materials from the ship’s design stage and throughout its operational life. It also encourages and facilitates safe and environmentally sound recycling at the end of the ship’s life. The convention has not entered into force yet.

In November 2016, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), supported by the Ghana Maritime Authority under the Ministry of Transport, organised the Regional Workshop on the Ratification and Implementation of the Hong Kong Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009, aimed to sensitise all participating Anglophone delegations from the West-African Sub-region with the key aspects of the Convention such as the Inventory of Hazardous Materials. The goal of the workshop was also to familiarise the participating delegations with other related legislation such as the Basel Convention, the European Ship Recycling regulation and their requirements regarding the environmentally sound management of hazardous and other wastes from ship recycling activities. This workshop was very timely as the sub-region currently faces unregulated ship breaking practices along the coastline or at sea.

The Workshop was held in Accra, Ghana, from 14 to 16 November 2016. It was designed for government administrators responsible for the implementation of the ship recycling programme in their respective countries. Thirty participants including officials from key government agencies of 9 African countries - Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Cabo Verde, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe and Sierra Leone - attended the Workshop. There were representatives from the maritime ministries and agencies, as well as a delegate from the Ghananian competent Environmental Administration. Other stakeholders involved were officers from the Regional Maritime University in Ghana and the PSC Tema Ship Repair Yard.

With the IMO providing the reference materials, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) supported the Workshop by sending Deputy Director of Shipping Mr Mark Lim Yew Guan to assist through his expertise in specific aspects of the Convention such as Inventories of Hazardous Materials and Flag State responsibilities. Mr Jun Sun, technical officer from the IMO, and Ms Gudrun Janssens, IMO-contracted consultant, also gave the lectures at this Workshop.

Participants shared that they were pleased with the content and outcome of the Workshop and are now better informed on the Hong Kong Convention, the EU Ship Recycling Regulation, the Basel Convention and all related guidelines.

Hub-Port Systems Integration to Enhance Service Delivery

MPA is pleased to announce the integration of our Hub-Port Systems to enhance our certification and license service delivery.

Ship’s officers holding certificates of competency from overseas, are required to apply for the Certificate of Endorsement(COE) as well as the Harbour Craft Manning Licence (ML) in order to work onboard a SRS vessel that holds a Harbour Craft licence. Prior to the systems’ integration, these officers were required to apply for the COE and ML separately. This was unproductive as customers had to submit similar documents and perform repeated data entry to two different departments in MPA.

Launched on 17 October 2016, the integration of our Hub-Port systems now allows customers to apply for both the COE and ML in a single application. At the backend, the documents and data submitted would automatically be transmitted to the Marine Licensing and Permits Department for the processing of the ML. Customers will no longer have to perform duplicate submissions.

For more information, please direct queries to the Marine Licensing and Permits Department via email: and tel: (65) 6325 2589.

1 Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
2 The four ships are Pacific Ranger ,Pacific Discovery Pelicana and Spirit of Cape Town.