More than 4,600 ships flying the Singapore flag will benefit from service enhancements to be introduced from November 2017 by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA). Singapore-incorporated maritime companies will also receive assistance in the form of training on sustainability reporting. These initiatives were announced by Chief Executive of MPA, Mr Andrew Tan, at the Singapore Registry of Ships (SRS) Forum Friday (Nov 17).

Themed "Innovation in Challenging Times", this year's SRS Forum focuses on how companies could leverage on innovative practices such as Blockchain and e-certification to improve work processes.

Caption: MPA Chief Executive, Andrew Tan, giving his opening address at the SRS Forum 2017 - Image courtesy of MPA Singapore

Mr Andrew Tan said, "IoT, digitalisation and new technologies such as blockchain and smart drones are changing the way we work. To stay ahead, the Singapore Registry of Ships needs to embrace these technologies to offer value-added services to its customer. As a responsible flag administration, we will continue to find new ways to promote clean, efficient and sustainable shipping."

Service enhancements & digitalising Singapore-registered ships

24/7 hotline for urgent assistance

Effective 1 November 2017, owners, managers and operators of Singapore-registered ships requiring urgent assistance after office hours will be able to call MPA’s new 24/7 customer service hotline at (+65) 6-CALL-SRS (6-2255-777). The 24/7 hotline was introduced following feedback from the industry that a hotline would be useful for them to contact MPA officers after office hours for urgent cases relating to crewing, registry and ship’s technical matters.

E-certs and expansion of Marinet online services

Currently, MPA authorises Recognised Organisations (ROs) to issue electronic certificates (E-Certs) to Singapore-registered ships. By end of this year, in addition to E-Certs issued by ROs, MPA will also issue e-certificates directly to Singapore-registered ships. The use of E-Certs will save time and costs. It reduces the need for hard copies, allows for instantaneous and simultaneous transmissions of documents as well as reduce the risk of fraud.

Caption: MPA signed MOU with Global Compact Networks to provide Singapore-incorporated Maritime companies with training on sustainability reporting - Image courtesy of MPA Singapore

Singapore will be among the first Flag Administrations in Asia to issue E-Certs. Before E-Certs, hard copies of over two dozen certificates such as Certificate of Registry, Safe Manning Certificate and Load Line Certificates among others, are kept on board ships to provide proof that the vessels are compliant with the various regulations or conventions applicable to them. Converting the hard-copy certificates to E-Certs reduces the manpower and financial commitments in the preparation, printing and delivery of these certificates.

In addition, MPA has also expanded the Marinet to include two new online services namely application for ship registration and appointment of manager form as well as application for various documents issued by SRS. The expansion will provide timely issuance of certificate/declaration to the vessel.

Leveraging on new technologies to conduct ship survey

Increasingly, new technologies such as aerial drones armed with cameras and ship inspecting robots are being used for ship surveys. Such methods of remote inspection are safer and can save time and cost for ship-owners as it eliminates the need for traditional method of survey such as erecting staging in the cargo tanks. Marine surveyors also do not have to risk their lives by having to climb high places or be exposed to adverse conditions to check for defects.

Following several trials using drones to survey cargo tanks of ships, MPA is developing the acceptance criteria for the usage of such remote inspection techniques on board Singapore-registered ships. The acceptance criteria will be ready by first quarter next year.

Caption: Mr Rene Piil Pedersen receiving the Green Ship certificate on behalf of A.P. Moeller Singapore Pte Ltd - Image courtesy of MPA Singapore

Promoting sustainable shipping

To encourage more maritime companies to comply with the Singapore Stock Exchange’s (SGX) mandatory sustainability reporting requirements, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed at the forum. The MOU seeks to provide Singapore-incorporated maritime companies listed on SGX with training on sustainability reporting, organise a CEO/CFO Roundtable of which the discussion will be compiled into a Maritime Sustainability/Integrated Reporting Guidelines and launch a MPA-sponsored award in the GCNS Singapore Apex Corporate Sustainability Award. About 43 maritime companies are expected to benefit from the training.

The MOU was signed by Mr Andrew Tan and Mr Wilson Ang, Executive Director of GCNS.

The forum also saw MPA’s Green Ship certificates presented to 78 Green Ships from 48 companies. Two companies were also recognised for contributing up to the 89th million GT milestone in the SRS tonnage. About 250 senior maritime professionals attended the forum.

Source: MPA Singapore