MPA Singapore enhancing digital services and developing acceptance criteria for drone inspection of ships

MPA Singapore enhancing digital services and developing acceptance criteria for drone inspection of ships

Above photo: MPA Chief
Executive, Andrew Tan, giving his opening address at the SRS Forum 2017/
Credit: MPA

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) is introducing
service enhancements, which will benefit more than 4,600 ships flying the
Singapore flag.

These initiatives were announced by Chief Executive of MPA,
Mr Andrew Tan, at the Singapore Registry of Ships (SRS) Forum today. 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.

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

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.

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 hardcopy certificates to E-Certs reduces the
manpower and financial commitments in the preparation, printing and delivery of
these certificates.

Earlier this year in April, a Memorandum of Understanding
(MoU) was signed
by the Danish Maritime Authority (DMA), MPA, and the Norwegian Maritime
Authority (NMA) for mutual recognition of E-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

(Marinet is an Internet-based
e-commerce system owned by MPA. Using Marinet, members of the maritime
community can submit statutory declarations, process crew manning related
documents, request for port services, obtain approvals, apply permits, obtain
critical business information.

Acceptance criteria
for remote inspection of ships

New technologies such as aerial drones armed with cameras
and ship inspecting robots are increasingly being used for ship surveys. Such
methods of remote inspection are safer and can save time and cost for
ship-owners by eliminating 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.

Promoting sustainable

To encourage more maritime companies comply with the
Singapore Stock Exchange’s (SGX) mandatory sustainability reporting
requirements, a MOU was signed at the forum by Mr Andrew Tan and Mr Wilson Ang,
Executive Director of GCNS (Global
Compact Network Singapore).

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.

(As part of the United
Nations Global Compact network, GCNS encourages and facilitates the progress of
companies that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with
UNGC’s 10 universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour,
environment and anti-corruption at the country level.

The forum also saw MPA’s Green Ship certificates presented
to 78 Green Ships from 48 companies. The Green Ship Certification Programme
(GSP) encourages Singapore-flagged ships to reduce carbon dioxide and sulphur
oxides emissions. Qualifying Singapore-flagged ships can enjoy a reduction of
Initial Registration Fees and a rebate on Annual Tonnage Tax. Since the GSP's
inception in 2011, 410 Green Ships under the Singapore Flag have joined the