OPENING ADDRESS BY MR ANDREW TAN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF MARITIME AND PORT AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE AT THE LAUNCH OF INTERNATIONAL SAFETY@SEA WEEK 2018, ON 18 JUNE 2018

18 June 2018

Ladies and gentlemen, 
 
Good morning. Thank you all for being here at the launch of the International Safety@Sea Week 2018. 
 
Background 

2. As we all know, Singapore is situated along one of the busiest shipping routes in the world. Every day, there are more than a thousand vessels in our port. Whenever incidents occur, there is risk to the environment, property and lives. The incidents over the years are a reminder that we cannot take things for granted. Safety has to be a continuous effort, involving all the stakeholders who have a role to play.

3.   Through these efforts we have managed to keep the number of incidents in our waters low. Overall, marine incidents have decreased by more than 40% between 2008 to 2017. In particular, the major incident rate has dropped from 0.010 to 0.003 incidents per 1,000 vessel movements in the same period. While this is a significant achievement, there is no room for complacency and we must maintain our safety efforts.

MPA Adopts a Multi-Prong Approach to Navigational Safety

4.    These efforts involve a multi-prong effort:

- First at the national level, if you remember in 2014 after a spate of collision incidents, we did a fundamental review of our safety regime and arising from this review we did a number of things. One was to form the National Maritime Safety at Sea Council (NMSSC) which drives our efforts as part of a tripartite effort involving not only MPA but also the industry and also the union because it involved everyone taking a proactive role. And at the same time, we also launched the Safety at Sea campaign which in 2018, this would be its 4th year in terms of having had this campaign and we have steadily built it up over the years to become an international event. 

- At the industry level, the MPA-SSA have also formed the Safety of Navigation Working Group which involves MPA working closely with the industry to address safety issues on the ground. These are issues that can surface on a day to day basis that need to be addressed on a constant basis.  

- And third at the international level, Singapore collaborates with Indonesia and Malaysia to enhance the safety of navigation in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. For example, the littoral states have jointly developed a training package for mariners transiting the Singapore Strait to strengthen navigational awareness and safety.

Enhancements to Safety@Sea Singapore Campaign

5. Today, I would like to highlight three new initiatives that MPA will be embarking on.

 6. The first initiative focuses on raising awareness among seafarers and addressing what is known in the industry as the human element. To strengthen our outreach to the maritime community, I am happy to announce that MPA will be refreshing the Safety@Sea Campaign.

 7. The refreshed campaign will involve a few new elements. We have redesigned our safety collaterals to be more eye-catching. Safety messages in the collaterals have also been updated. The messages are now more tailored for specific target groups such as the team that is on the ship’s bridge, ship’s crew, ferry passengers and the pleasure craft community. Hopefully, you would have noticed these new posters on your way here. 

 8. We will also be launching a Safety@Sea website at www.safetyatsea.sg. The website will serve as a one-stop digital platform for sharing of safety materials, such as the Safety E-Bulletin, and publicising safety-related events. We hope that the maritime community will find the curated resources useful.

9. We are also leveraging on technology as an innovative tool. This would include setting up free WIFI services or mobile charging stations for seafarers at drop-in centres and clubs, and the use of Geo-Targeting Text Messages or ‘GeoSMSes’ that will be triggered at different locations in the Port of Singapore. We will be broadcasting safety messages to seafarers through these new services, such as routine safety messages and special safety reminders during occasions such as major festive seasons such as the Kusu Island pilgrimage.
 
Co-funding for Buckle-type Lifejackets and Lifejacket Receptacles

10. The second initiative focuses on improving regional ferry safety. Every year, more than 6.5 million passengers travel via MPA-licensed regional ferries between Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. As part of MPA’s commitment to safety excellence, we will be supporting regional ferry operators to upgrade critical life-saving equipment on board.

11. We will require the replacement of older string type lifejackets with the new buckle type lifejackets. Many of us would have taken aeroplanes for your holidays and whichever airlines that you take, the lifejackets onboard are more or less the same. There is no reason why ferries operating in our region cannot harmonise their lifesaving equipment particularly lifejackets which is an essential part of safety at sea.  These new lifejackets are much easier to wear in an emergency and have additional safety features. MPA will also be supporting the installation of lifejacket receptacles below individual seats so that the lifejackets can be easily accessed in an emergency.

12. I am happy to announce that MPA will be committing about $800,000 in co-funding to help ferry operators implement the new lifejacket upgrade and customised lifejacket receptacles. All MPA-licensed regional ferries will be required to comply with these new requirements by the end of next year.
So, hopefully with this co-funding and the support of the ferry association, we can roll out these measures and this will in a way add greater confidence to passengers travelling in this regional vicinity. 
 
Recognising Companies That Promote Safe Practices

13. The third initiative involves supporting ground up efforts by the industry. Here is where there is a lot of room for industry players to step up. I know many of you have your own safety programmes. Many of these safety programmes can be shared with the rest of the industry. There could be innovative elements in these safety programmes that are useful for others to learn. One way in which MPA can encourage this is to recognise companies with innovative safety practices at the Safety@Sea Awards under a new “Open Category”.

14. As a reflection of this collaboration, I will be joining industry leaders and members of the National Maritime Safety at Sea Council to deliver the new safety collaterals on board several vessels later. PSA Marine pilots, as Safety@Sea Ambassadors, will also help to promote safety messages and distribute the new collaterals on board ships that call at our Port. Similarly, you can also “Do Your Part” with the new set of collaterals that have been given to you.

15. Last but not least, in addition to the above efforts, SMS Lam Pin Min will also be announcing other initiatives to raise our capabilities in seafarers training and safety of navigation when we kick off the International Safety@Sea Conference in the later part of the week, so stay tuned. 

Conclusion

16. Let me conclude by reiterating that everyone has a part to play to ensure a strong safety culture. MPA cannot do this alone and we need everyone to “Do Your Part”. We welcome suggestions from the industry on how we can work as a community to further improve our safety efforts.

17. I look forward to engaging with all of you to raise awareness and to also drive this year’s Safety at Sea.

Thank you.