Singapore will continue its drive to be a leading international maritime centre and will work even more closely with countries and shipping associations in the region to realise its goal of creating a unified ‘Asian Voice’ in the shipping industry – this was the message given by Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) President Patrick Phoon (pictured) at a press conference held at the start of Singapore Maritime Week.
“World shipping is moving east, that is clear, so it is important for the SSA to work more closely with other organisations in Asia to ensure the Asian message is heard internationally. The industry is going through difficult times but we must all ensure that shipping is fit and strong when the crisis ends,” Mr Phoon said.
The need for a unified ‘Asian Voice’ was never more important than in the area of shipping regulation, he stressed, where it was essential that the views of Asian shipowners were heard loud and clear on issues such as piracy and armed robbery as well as greenhouse gas emissions.
Shipping’s image in Asia and internationally is also crucial which is why the SSA values its work with the Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF), Asian Shipowners’ Forum (ASF), the Federation of ASEAN Shipowners’ Associations (FASA), the Association of Asian Class Societies (ACS) and ASEAN Ports Associations (APA).
The SSA, through its President, Mr Patrick Phoon, chairs the ASF Safe Navigation and Environment Committee and leads very active discussions on safety, security and environmental issues to safeguard shipowners’ interests while at the same time ensuring safe navigation of ships and the protection of the marine and atmospheric environments.
Mr Phoon added: “We strongly support the education of young people with a potential interest in shipping through a number of initiatives – including our support of the MaritimeONE initiative, the provision of scholarships by both the Association and our members and through our support for our SSA YEG (Young Executives Group) which is incidentally celebrating its seventh anniversary this year. Encouraging the young to join our industry is absolutely a key objective of the SSA.”
He also said: “In fact we are trying very hard to glamorise the shipping industry to make it more ‘sexy’ to attract young people to join our shipping industry. We are achieving success in this. I am pleased to note that even young Singaporean women have taken up a seafaring career with some of them already onboard ships as deck officers and engineers.”
Key to Singapore’s continued growth as an international maritime centre is the close co-operation between the SSA and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA). “We will continue to work in tandem with the MPA with whom we have excellent relations, in our joint efforts to promote Singapore as a leading maritime centre,” he said.
Mr Phoon added: “We strongly welcomed the speech by Mr Masamichi Morooka, Chairman of International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) today, where he praised the support that the Government of Singapore gives to shipping. His message that the work of the ICS would be made much easier if other governments followed Singapore’s lead in supporting the shipping industry was well placed; and we as an association will look to build on that relationship in the years to come.”
Mr Phoon further commented: “For us in Singapore, we are fortunate that we have a government who listens very closely to the shipping industry. As an island state without any resources and very limited waters, we have nothing to lose but to exploit our advantages – of being blessed with a deep water harbour, strategically located at the crossroads of East and West, and in the fastest growing region in the world – to the fullest.
We see today’s ICS Forum in Singapore as an affirmation of the ICS’ recognition of our efforts and we in turn will continue to work for a close and constructive relationship between the ICS Secretariat and the entire SSA membership,” he said.