SPEECH BY MR CHOI SHING KWOK, PERMANENT SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT, AT THE OPENING CEREMONY FOR MARSIM 2012 CONFERENCE & EXHIBITION, AT SINGAPORE POLYTECHNIC, ON MONDAY, 23 APRIL 2012, 9.00AM

23 April 2012

Capt Stephen Cross, Chairman, International Marine Simulator Forum,
Mr Roland Tan, Director, Singapore Maritime Academy,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning and a very warm welcome to Singapore for our overseas guests.

2 I am delighted to join you for the opening of the MARSIM 2012 Conference and Exhibition, particularly as it is being held in conjunction with the 55th Anniversary of the Singapore Maritime Academy. This is the first time that the International Marine Simulator Forum (IMSF) has worked with the Singapore Maritime Academy (SMA) to organise MARSIM in Singapore. And I think that there is no better time to do so than in conjunction with Singapore Maritime Week.

3 Since 1978, MARSIM has provided the industry a valuable platform to share ideas and collaborate on maritime simulation technology. With the over 300 participants present here and a wide range of speakers, I am confident that this year's MARSIM will once again garner an exciting exchange of ideas.

Simulation Technology - a key tool for Maritime Singapore

4 Ladies and gentlemen, we gather amidst an increasingly complex environment for the maritime industry. The global nature of shipping, together with challenging market conditions, requires the industry to constantly innovate to meet increasing demands for greater efficiency and safety, while minimising costs and environmental impact. More specialised and sophisticated ships are being built and coming on stream. At the same time, shipping and port operations have also become more complex in order to accomodate the growth in vessel sizes. in addition, there is also a greater demand for environmentally sustainable designs and practices to be used for ships and ports. These advancements have been made possible by the industry's strong technology base, including within the maritime simulation community.

5 Let me touch on two areas where maritime simulation has played a key role in advancing Singapore's maritime industry. These are in the areas of training and operational planning.

Maritime Training

6 Let me start with maritime training. Our seafarers operate in an increasingly challenging environment on board more sophisticated ships plying in busier waterways where the margins for error are getting smaller. Training needs have consequently become more specialised and demanding. Many aspiring seafarers have to cut their teeth on a wide range of vessel types before they are allowed to operate on board an ocean-going ship. This is where simulators can play a useful role by providing seafarers with realistic training in a risk-free environment and within shorter training times. Seasoned seafarers can also return to more advanced ship simulators to refresh and upgrade their skills. As technology advances and regulations evolve, ship simulators can also be used by designers and crew to test new ship designs and operational procedures before they are brought to sea.

7 The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has worked with the SMA to strengthen our maritime training through the use of simulation services. This includes the Integrated Simulation Centre (ISC) that was established at SMA in 2001. Today, I am pleased to announce that SMA and FORCE Technology will launch a new facility called Simulation@SMARTFORCE. This facility will feature 120- to 360-degree Horizontal Field of View Bridges, which will add to SMA's existing simulators for navigation, communication, cargo-handling, ship engine and dynamic positioning. I am confident that these new capabilities will enhance the quality of SMA's training programmes.

Operational Planning

8 The second key role played by simulators is in operational planning. Singapore has continuously invested in infrastructure as we develop our global hub port to meet future shipping needs. Given our land constraints, our port planners and operators have to design and manage our cargo terminals and anchorages in a manner that maximises land use and operational efficiency without compromising safety and security and with minimal impact on our precious marine environment. A wide range of simulation tools makes such complex planning tasks possible. For example, we have used simulation tools to determine optimal port layouts and channel designs, as well as to assess the environmental impact of our port operations. Our port operators have also developed sophisticated algorithms to maximise the efficiency of their cargo handling operations. Overall, the use of simulation tools has played a key role in enhancing the efficiency and safety of our port.

SMA's 55th Anniversary

9 Ladies and gentlemen, MARSIM 2012 is one of the highlights for the Singapore Maritime Academy this year as it celebrates its 55th birthday. Over the years, the SMA has been recognised for consistently producing quality officers for the merchant marine fleet. To date, the Academy has trained more than 10,000 diploma graduates in disciplines related to Marine Engineering, Maritime Business and Nautical Studies. To commemorate this significant milestone, the SMA will launch a new logo that will symbolise the SMA's vision to be a dynamic and leading maritime institution.

Conclusion

10 On this note, I am pleased to declare MARSIM 2012 open. Let me wish everyone a fruitful conference and I hope that you will also take some time to participate in the many other exciting activities lined up during this Singapore Maritime Week.
 

11 Thank you.