Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Something from Singapore for the countries in the GCC as each tries to be a logistics / maritime hub--

Tuesday, 17 June 2014 03:16

Singapore Maritime in Full Swing

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Singapore Maritime in Full Swing
Despite being outmuscled in terms of size when it comes to its Asian counterparts, Singapore continues to do well in the maritime sector, with government support for the industry to be ramped up to full speed.
After all, Singapore has one of the busiest ports in the world. As of end December last year, the annual vessel arrival tonnage to Singapore reached 73.6 million gross tonnes, making the country one of the top ten ship registries globally.
At the recent 13th Asia Pacific Maritime event held from 19 – 21 March, Mrs Josephine Teo, Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport, mentioned that Singapore intends to serve as a gateway to Asia. As a key maritime nation in the heart of Asia, and home to a leading hub port, the country provides an optimal location for businesses to tap on Asia’s growth opportunities.
The Academy for Mariners
But a bountiful of opportunities can be easily missed if the industry is not managed by a reliable and competent workforce. This is where the Singapore Maritime Academy (SMA) comes in.
Since its formation in 2000, SMA, which is a part of Singapore Polytechnic (SP), has been making waves in the three areas of maritime education and training – navigation, marine engineering, and maritime transportation management. SMA is widely regarded to be on the forefront of maritime education and training with a focus on the international development of youth.
With over 60 highly qualified teaching staff who were once ships’ captains or chief engineers holding graduate degrees in specialised fields, the academy aims for high quality education to be delivered by passionate members of the industry.
Not many can express the passion for the industry more than Mr Roland Tan, Director of SMA. Joining the Sea Cadet Corps when he was in Secondary 1 ignited his love for maritime, and when he was 16, he was given the chance to be away at sea for six weeks with Ben Line Steamers as part of a Sea Training Scholarship. He has not looked back since.
“I actually became homesick after 12 days because I was such a homely boy. But that did not deter me from the sea, and I embarked on my maritime career as soon as I was done with my National Service,” said Mr Tan.
Switching to the education industry did little to extinguish his passion for the maritime sector. During an interview with Supply Chain Asia, Mr Tan shares with team SMA’s innovative ways to attract new talent and develop the industry workforce of tomorrow.
Luring the Cream of the Crop
SMA at the Singapore Polytechnic is actively promoting seafaring careers through various outreach events and initiatives. In addition to the typical career talks and exhibitions, SMA also conducts the following events:
• Maritime Youth Day (MYD): SMA and the Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF) jointly organised the Inaugural Maritime Youth Day on 1 Dec 2010 in conjunction with the Year of The Seafarer. The one-day event was supported by the National Cadet Corps (NCC) and MPA, and it reached out to 160 NCC officer cadets from more than 50 secondary schools. The programme for the event included team-building challenges at Pulau Hantu. The annual event is scheduled for June this year to coincide with the Day of the Seafarer as designated by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
• Student Work Attachment: Each year, SMA hosts students from a secondary school to spend at least three full days with SMA as part of a joint Work Attachment Programme between their school and SMA. They will experience the various activities that happen daily at the SMA workshops, simulators and the waterfront training centre at Poly Marina. This serves as an eye opener to the maritime industry as they interact closely with staff during those few days.
• Scholarships: SMA collaborates with Maritime Port and Authority of Singapore (MPA), Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF) and industries to offer a variety of scholarships for its full-time diploma courses and further education at universities.
Up to five SMA-MaritimeONE Scholarships valued at S$10,000 each, are offered yearly to good students with outstanding CCA records who are successfully enrolled into any of the three full-time diploma programmes.
Up to five SMA-MaritimeONE Scholarships valued at S$10,000 each, are offered yearly to good students with outstanding CCA records who are successfully enrolled into any of the three full-time diploma programmes.
The Tripartite Maritime Scholarship Scheme (TMSS) is also sponsored by the MPA, unions and shipping companies. The scholarship offers a sponsorship of up to S$50,000, and is exclusively offered to Diploma in Nautical Studies (DNS) or Diploma in Marine Engineering (DMR) students.
The MPA Sponsorship scheme is open to all students in the full-time diploma courses in SMA. The sponsorship covers tuition fees and other expenses, and students are required to join MPA upon graduation. SMA top students are also often offered attractive sponsorship packages by shipping companies.
Counting on Simulators
The Integrated Simulation Centre (ISC) was jointly set up by the Maritime & Port Authority (MPA) and SMA to further enhance the quality and efficiency of maritime training conducted in Singapore through simulators. It is the official venue for MPA examinations on topics related to maritime simulations.
ISC simulators offer different realistic scenarios for training of ship officers and crew in a risk-free environment. Students will experience first-hand state-of-theart technology employed for seafarers’ trainings and shipping operations via sessions on the Navigation Bridges and the Engine Room Simulators. Other advanced facilities, such as the Dynamic Positioning Simulation Laboratory and the Liquid Cargo Handling Simulators housed within the ISC, also add to the range of maritime training capabilities it offers. Although developed primarily for the training of shipboard personnel, the ISC is also capable of conducting marine research and development for port planning.
In 2013, SMA has taken a breakthrough decision in dismantling the existing four FMSS and replacing them with five new DNV Class A FMSS. The five new FMSS bridges have been improved upon the academy’s previous system in additional ways, including specially designed and customised navigation equipment consoles, to give maximum ergonomics advantages and a modern look. With the new compact and sleek outlook, SMA’s FMSS offers the students a more spacious and real-life shipboard reality as possible, it ensures that the students are well prepared to enter the industry and enforces SMA’s commitment in providing maritime training at the highest level.
A Bright Horizon
With the whole industry going at high speed to succeed, SMA remains determined to develop an adequate number of workforce for the industry.
“SMA is constantly building up on its capacity and capability planning. When we see a gap in the maritime landscape, we work towards meeting that demand. For example, SMA is currently working on a proposal for a new course for the Marine Electro-Technical Officer, which was brought to our attention via feedback from the industry that there was a lack for such qualified personnel on board,” Mr Tan explained.
If academies, such as SMA, continue to meet the industry’s demand, there is no reason why Singapore cannot continue to achieve success well into the future.