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SMW: A celebration of all things maritime

SMW: A celebration of all things maritime

Singapore: The 2008 edition of Singapore's Maritime Week (SMW) kicked off bright and early Friday morning, when Singapore's Minister for Transport and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs, Raymond Lim flagged off some 1000 members of the maritime community for the inaugural "Nautical Run". The community came together for a social cause, raising raising more than S$320,000 for for The President's Challenge 2008 and The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund. 600 competitive and 400 'fun' runners ran 3.3 nautical miles (6.6 kilometres) and 0.9 nautical miles (1.6 kilometres) respectively.

The Week's events are driven by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA). SMW which started two years ago as a week-long congregation of business activities has now developed into a more comprehensive range of activities spanning international conferences and dialogues on topical issues, through social activities for business networking and exhibitions engaging the masses. Besides aspiring to position itself as an international maritime hub, Singapore also wants to be a "thought-leader" for the industry.

This year's Singapore Maritime Week is expected to attract over 6,000 participants, up from 2,900 in 2006, and 4,500 in 2007." According to BG (NS) Tay the events involve "movers and shakers of the international maritime community... and is reflective of the attraction and vibrancy of Singapore as an international maritime centre."

Much of the focus of SMW 2008 is on shipping and the maritime community's environmental and social credentials. It will include the 2nd Singapore Maritime Lecture (16 October), featuring International Maritime Organization Secretary-General Efthimios E Mitropoulos, who will be sharing his insights on shipping and the issue of climate change. The 15th Singapore International Bunkering Conference (SIBCON 2008, 15-17 October) will provide a platform for stakeholders to discuss the environmental challenges faced by the marine fuel industry. There will also be a Joint Oil Spill Exercise led by MPA to test and ensure the country's effective response to oil spill incidents. MPA will also be putting up an exhibition "From Lighthouses to Electronic Charts" (17-19 October), which will give the public insights into Singapore's maritime and hydrographic heritage. This three-day, free exhibition will showcase how the maritime sector has progressed in aids to navigation and nautical charting.

Singapore's maritime industry has seen strong growth in the past two years with double-digit growth recorded in 2007 and the first half of 2008. Container throughput was 15.03m teu for the first half of 2008, up 11.5% compared to the same period last year. The MPA reports that good progress has been made in broadening ancillary services with major international shipping groups setting up bases here and ship financing sector; marine insurance market; shipbroking activities; maritime R&D with more than 100,000 people employed in the maritime cluster.  [13/10/08]