Being prepared for regional ferry incidents a priority this year: MPA
This is due to the large number of people travelling between Singapore, Batam and Bintan, says MPA Chief Executive Andrew Tan.
SINGAPORE: Adopting a state of readiness for incidents involving regional ferries is an area of priority for the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), said its CEO Andrew Tan on Friday (May 6).
Mr Tan estimated that there are about 90,000 people a week travelling by ferry between Singapore, Batam and Bintan a week, which he said is not “an insignificant number”.
“Therefore it is important for us to work very closely with regional ferry operators to make sure that their vessels are in good working condition, the equipment do operate, and of course the crew themselves are familiar with the procedures should any emergencies take place,” said Mr Tan.
He also commented on an incident last November, when a Singapore-bound Batamfast passenger ferry struck an object at sea and began to take in water. The passengers were evacuated safely, but they reported leaking and overcrowded life rafts and found ship crew efforts lacking.
Mr Tan said that Indonesian-led investigations into that incident are still underway, but on the part of the Singapore authorities, inspections of regional ferries have been stepped up.
“We’ll have to work very closely with the Indonesians to make sure that their standards and our standards are harmonised based on international conventions and also international best practices,” said the MPA chief said.
“It’s something that we’ve already touched base with them. We’ve met up with the Batam authorities, we’ve met with our counterparts to look at improving protocols, and also looking at how we can also raise the standards of the operators.”
Mr Tan was speaking during a multi-agency ferry evacuation exercise held on Friday. Coordinated by the MPA, the exercise simulated a regional ferry striking an object out at sea while enroute to Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, and involved the Police Coast Guard, Singapore Civil Defence Force and six other agencies and companies.
Also observing the exercise was Senior Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Foreign Affairs and Transport Josephine Teo.
Source : Channel News Asia