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Singapore waters see significant drop in 'major incidents' over last 10 years

Singapore is continuing to invest in navigational safety in the waters of one of the world’s busiest ports as it sees a significant drop in major incidents over the last decade.

Speaking at the opening of the International Safety@Sea Conference, Lam Pin Min, Singapore Senior Minister of State for Transport said that safety of sea was a critical area of focus for the country with 830,000 vessel movements last year.

“Despite the heavy traffic, the number of major incidents has dropped over the last ten years, from about one incident per 100,000 vessel movements in 2008 to less than 0.3 last year,” he said. A definition of a “major incident” was not provided.

“Such an improvement is only possible when each and everyone of us takes personal responsibility to put safety first. But we cannot be complacent.”

Read more: 10 missing after US Navy destroyer John S. McCain collides with tanker in Singapore Strait

The Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) continues to invest in regular enhancements to the Vessel Traffic Information System (VTIS) and is currently making improvements to the resolution of VTIS radar video plots to allow officers to monitor vessels more accurately.

Lam said that MPA was also working with IBM to apply auto-detection to maritime safety so that vessels near danger areas for grounding are automatically flagged VTIS operators. It is also investing SGD500,000 over three years to develop a VHF Data Exchange System (VDES) which is capable of real-time, high band ship-to-shore communications. “It will enable MPA to collect a wider range of navigational information from vessels calling at Singapore,” Lam said.

The Senior Minister of State also announced the Singapore Maritime Institute and Singapore Polytechnic would be launching a Centre of Excellence in Maritime Safety training seafarers to use new technologies, with SGD10m allocated under the Singapore Maritime Institute Fund.

“The training programmes, which will use augmented reality and virtual reality, will focus on new modelling and simulation tools that enhance navigational safety, in tandem with the development of Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS).

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