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Singapore puts ferry emergency readiness to test

Singapore puts ferry emergency readiness to test
A half-day emergency preparedness exercise was conducted by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) on the morning of 1 September in Singapore, as part of the International Safety@Sea week.

The exercise, codenamed Ferex 2016, aims to test the readiness of various agencies to respond to ferry mishaps in the port of Singapore.

More than 450 personnel from 15 agencies and companies took part in this full deployment exercise which included deployment of resources at sea at the Western Anchorage for rescue operations, manning of emergency operations centre at MPA’s Port Operations Control Centre, and landing of casualties and rescued persons at Harbourfront Centre Terminal.

The exercise scenario involved a collision between two regional passenger ferries. The impact of the collision caused the hull of ‘Ferry 1’ to be breached and it started to take in water.

The exercise saw some passengers injured while some jumped into the sea out of panic. Life rafts had to be activated and a total of 15 craft were deployed to conduct search and rescue operations, evacuation of injured passengers and recovery of man overboard.

Andrew Tan, chief executive of MPA, said: “Safety remains our key priority. Today's ferry evacuation exercise held as part of our Safety@Sea week, aims to test the coordination and operational readiness of our ferry operators and various agencies in responding to emergencies. MPA will continue to work closely with the maritime community to strengthen the safety regime for regional ferries.”

Some of the participating agencies included Singapore Police Force, Singapore Emergency Ambulance Services, Immigration & Checkpoints Authority, Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, Singapore Civil Defence Force, Singapore Cruise Centre, Singapore Armed Forces, and Singapore Island Cruise and Ferry Services.