The Singapore Registry of Ships (SRS) Forum 2020 announced the 96 million gross tonnage milestone has been reached in 2020 by the SRS as digitalisation and decarbonisation in the face of COVID-19 was also discussed.
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) hosted the 2020 SRS Forum on 3 November.
Themed “Resilience, Strength and Adaptability”, the 2020 SRS Forum focused on how owners, managers and operators of Singapore-flagged ships can tap on opportunities brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, in areas such as digitalisation and decarbonisation.
During the event shipping division shared their expertise and insights on conducting remote surveys and inspections amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as lessons learnt from MPA’s investigations of marine casualties and incidents.
Speaking at the opening address, Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive of MPA, said, “While the pandemic has thrown Maritime Singapore many challenges, it also presented us with opportunities to emerge stronger.
“To do this, MPA will strengthen partnerships to drive digitalisation and decarbonisation of shipping and ensure that the Singapore Registry of Ships is adaptable and agile in the new normal. MPA will also continue supporting our seafarers, the backbone of the maritime industry, through the pandemic.”
COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of technology. To minimise the risk to crews and surveyors on ships, MPA has been carrying out remote inspections since June 2020. To date, MPA’s surveyors have conducted 128 remote Flag State and Port State inspections involving 74 companies.
MPA also collaborated with Recognised Organisations to conduct surveys and audits using remote technologies. This includes the inspection of ship equipment via video streaming platforms, and verification of documents sent electronically.
Additionally, MPA has carried out close to 250 oral examinations for Certificate of Competency deck and engine candidates through video conferencing since April.
The pandemic has also demonstrated shipping’s importance as a reliable, efficient and cost-effective method of transporting goods. Partnering the industry to drive decarbonisation efforts, MPA will extend its Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Global Compact Network Singapore, the local chapter of the United Nations Global Compact, by an additional three years to 2023.
This is to promote carbon management and awareness amongst maritime companies. The MoU was first signed in 2017 to provide companies with training on sustainability reporting.
During this pandemic, seafarers face crew change restrictions due to border control measures. Since 27 March 2020, MPA has facilitated crew change in Singapore for more than 50,000 sign-on and sign-off crew of all nationalities from ships of different flags involving more than 2,900 companies and 3,500 ships, through a set of ‘safe corridor’ procedures.
The procedures minimise risk to public health for the local community, ships and crew involved.
Depending on the COVID-19 situation, MPA expects to conduct some 500 to 600 crew changes per day in the coming months.
For Singapore-flagged ships, 99% of crew onboard are employed within their service contract period. MPA will continue to work closely with ship operators to repatriate the remaining 1% of crew who are still working onboard on extended contracts.