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All aboard for Singapore Maritime Week

The Business Times by DAVID HUGHES

OUR friends at the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) tell us that Singapore Maritime Week (SMW), which is on next week, will gather the international maritime community for a week of conferences, dialogues, exhibitions and social events marking all things maritime.

They also say the range of activities and events they and various industry stakeholders and research and educational institutions are all organising reflects "the vibrancy and diversity of Singapore as a global hub port and leading international maritime centre".

MPA also points to the cosmopolitan profile of participants, which reflects the presence of shipping-related businesses and organisations in Singapore. It describes SMW as a "global maritime hub for driving connectivity, innovation and talent through people, ideas and opportunities".

Since its inauguration in 2006, SMW has grown significantly and now attracts over 40,000 local and international participants yearly. In each themed edition, SMW gathers eminent global speakers to address a broad range of challenges.

Apart from the range of business platforms at SMW, participants can, we are told, also expect to experience something new every year with the unique line-up of networking and outreach activities.

I have been given 10 A4 pages of brief descriptions of what is going on. There are around 30 events that I know about. Quite possibly there are others.

For the maritime professional, there is a bewildering range of lectures, symposiums, awards ceremonies, forums, conferences, exhibitions as well social events such as the International Bunker Industry Association (Asia) gala dinner and MPA charity golf event.

These events are extremely important. They attract the international shipping community and act as Singapore's maritime shop window.

The comprehensive range of topics underlines Singapore's growing importance as an international shipping and shipping services hub. These events are also high quality learning opportunities for the industry.

Public outreach

However, SMW serves another very important purpose. Given that Singapore is an island nation and shipping, port and shipyard activities are evident almost everywhere you turn, one would imagine everybody here would have at least a reasonable knowledge and awareness of things maritime.

Apparently that is not so and MPA, Singapore Maritime Foundation, Association of Singapore Marine Industries and Singapore Shipping Association together are doing something about that, through the MaritimeONE (Outreach Network) initiative.

The MaritimeONE partners are behind the Amazing Maritime Challenge (AMC) that will take place on Sunday morning. This annual game-based event is intended to create a better understanding of Maritime Singapore among its participants and the public.

Participants, in teams of two, must learn to navigate and plan their next move while completing a series of tasks and quizzes spread out all over Singapore. There are cash prizes on offer. Last year, over 1,200 participants - a record - registered for the AMC.

MPA chief executive Andrew Tan says: "The Amazing Maritime Challenge provides an opportunity for those who are not in the maritime sector to learn more about the industry in a fun and engaging way. We hope participants will not only make new friends but also take away some knowledge on what drives this vibrant sector."

AMC is only one of several events aimed at the public. The whole week begins with a public opening ceremony at Suntec City

Throughout the week groups will be taken on MPA Learning Journeys which include tours to Pasir Panjang port and Raffles lighthouse, usually off-limits to the public.

Also on throughout the week is a public exhibition at Suntec City with the theme Securing our Maritime Future, which uses augmented and virtual reality to immerse them in the maritime world.

So, next week has a lot to offer both the industry and the public. One measure of success would be more young people enquiring about careers at sea and in the maritime service industries which are vital to the national economy.