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ASMI News 2005 : 2nd Quarter

Industry News


Training & Information


160 Students Visit Shipyards Under ASMI' s Industry Outreach Programme

As part of the Association's Image Enhancement Campaign and industry's outreach programme, ASMI organised shipyard excursions for secondary school students. The latest group of 160 students to visit the shipyards came from Fajar Secondary School. The Secondary 3 students visited the shipyards on 23 and 24 March 2005 under the school's Career Guidance Programme.

Taking turns to host the students were Jurong Shipyard, Keppel FELS and Keppel Shipyard. The students were first given a presentation by ASMI to introduce them to the marine industry, and to raise their awareness of the career opportunities and prospects. After the corporate presentation by the host-yard, the youngsters toured the shipyard facilities which included docking facilities, workshops as well as the design and engineering offices. The students also participated in a short quiz held to reinforce the briefing on the industry.

The students were impressed by the breadth of projects that the industry was capable of handling, and the size of works-in-progress in the docks. They were also excited by the extensive use of computerised technology and robotics to increase production efficiency. At Jurong Shipyard, the students also viewed a 3-D animation show of the yard's loading-out and mating-in-dock technique, which had broken speed records in the region.

The Association first started the shipyard tours in 2004 together with Ngee Ann Polytechnic as part of the latter's open house programme. To date, some 450 students from various secondary schools have visited the marine industry on excursions organised by ASMI.

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Minister of State Promotes Singapore as a Gateway to Asia in NOR-Shipping Conference.

Minister of State for Finance and Transport, Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, who led a 76-member Singapore delegation to Nor-Shipping 2005, delivered the Keynote Address at the Opening Conference held on 8 June at the Rainbow Hotel Arena in Oslo. The delegation comprised representatives from the Ministry of Transport, Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore, Singapore Maritime Foundation, ASMI and the 15 participating companies under the Singapore Pavilion in NorShipping 2005. Mrs Lim delivered a paper titled "Singapore - A Gateway to Asia".

In her speech, Mrs Lim shared her thoughts on how the European maritime companies could use Singapore as a maritime gateway to Asia. She said that Singapore was seeking to further grow and enhance its maritime cluster and would embark on three strategies. The first was to develop Singapore as a comprehensive International Maritime Centre (IMC) by developing a range and depth of services to meet the needs of the maritime industry. The Minister remarked that the focus was to develop a comprehensive range of ancillary services to ensure more sustainable growth and better position the maritime cluster.

The second strategy was "to develop good qualified manpower to serve the needs of the maritime industry by enhancing the training courses and infrastructure". A skilled workforce was needed to support the growth of the IMC and serve the needs of the local maritime companies. The third strategy would be to develop capabilities and to build a vibrant maritime R&D and technology cluster. Mrs Lim added that "with the rising demand for greater efficiencies, advanced maritime security and safety features and effective environmental protection measures, maritime R&D and technology would play an increasing important role".

The Minister also shared with the conference delegates on the business environment in Singapore. Besides having a vibrant mix of maritime-related companies, Singapore is also a key trans-shipment mode and regional distribution centre. She pointed out that half the world's oil supply and one third of global trade pass through the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. Mrs Lim cited Asia as "the epicenter of the international maritime trade and a dominant player in the global maritime industry". With her strategic location in the midst of all these maritime market actions, Singapore can continue to serve as an effective gateway for European maritime companies to tap the growing Asian market. They could leverage on Singapore's infrastructure, connections and easy accessibility to gain a foothold into the fast-growing markets such as China and India.

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Singapore Pavilion @ NOR-Shipping 2005

The biennial Nor-Shipping 2005 exhibition was held from 7 to 10 June at the Norwegian Trade Fairs Exhibition Centre in Lillestrmm, Oslo. ASMI, together with Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF) and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), co-organised Singapore's participation in the 20th edition of Nor-Shipping, with the support of International Enterprise Singapore.

A Singapore Pavilion was organised to showcase Singapore's range of maritime-related services, from marine engineering, ship repair and ship conversion, ship and rig building, legal services, marine supply and logistics, marine fuel testing to marine consultancy services, maritime training and maritime medical services. 15 companies were represented in the 264-sqm Singapore Pavilion. A record number of 820 exhibitors including 20 national pavilions from about 40 countries participated in the exhibition. Some 13,500 local and international visitors attended the four-day event.

The exhibition was officially opened by the Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Bmrge Brende on 8 June. The Norwegian Minister called at the Singapore Pavilion and performed a ribbon-cutting ceremony together with Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, Minister of State for Finance and Transport, to officially open the pavilion.

To provide participating companies with the opportunity to network with major international maritime players and potential clients, a 'Singapore Nite' Reception was held on the evening of 8 June at Hotel Continental. Mrs Lim also graced the function organised by the SMF as its Guest-of-Honour.

Nor-Shipping 2005 provided an excellent opportunity for Singapore to collectively promote its broad range of maritime capabilities. It also created an important platform for the participating companies to develop networks, share market information, build competencies and create business opportunities.

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Launch of  RSN-ASMI Career Transition Scheme

The RSN-ASMI Career Transition (CT) Scheme was officially launched on 1 April 2005 with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the Career Road Show held at the RSS Panglima in Changi Naval Base. The scheme is aimed at facilitating the transition of naval specialists completing their navy contracts into the marine industry. The scheme allows the marine industry to tap an available source of Singaporeans with the relevant skit[ sets to support the industry's continuous growth. It also provides mid-career RSN men with an opportunity to pursue a second career in the fast-growing and dynamic marine industry.

The initiative, facilitated by the Economic Development Board (EDB), brings together ASMI and the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) as partners in a collaborative manpower effort. Under the scheme, the educational background, training qualifications, skills and experience of the out-going navy personnel are matched to relevant positions in the marine industry. They will then join the industry either at the engineer or supervisor position.

The MOU was signed by RADM Sim Gim Guan, Chief of Staff (Navy), for the RSN, and Mr Wong Peng Kin, Chairman of Manpower Committee, on behalf of ASMI. Witnessing the signing of the MOU were top representatives from the three organisations - Mr Ko Kheng Hwa, Managing Director of EDB, RADM Ronnie Tay, Chief of Navy and Mr Heng Chiang Gnee, ASMI President (till end May 2005). They also took turns to speak to the audience of invited guests and prospective RSN candidates for the CT scheme.

Mr Ko told the audience that "the growth prospects of the marine and offshore industry are bright. Demand for shipbuilding and repair services will remain strong as world trade especially in the Asia Pacific region continues to grow. The offshore oil and gas industry is also expected to expand at more than 8% per year in the next five years, driven mainly by more oil and gas exploration and production activities." He stressed that for "our marine industry to remain competitive, we need to ensure that we attract enough manpower into the industry".

In his speech, RADM Tay emphasised the value of the RSN men to the industry. He said that the navy actively fosters a learning culture in the personnel. "With the knowledge and skills acquired during the course of their service in the Navy, whether in the engineering, technical, operational, leadership or management aspects, these servicemen will be well-placed to contribute to the related marine industry."

Mr Heng highlighted that "the industry is recognising the years of working experience of the RSN personnel as equivalent to those with similar years of working experience in the industry. This would allow the RSN naval specialists with the relevant skills to join the industry at an appropriate higher level than before". An underlying belief among industry leaders is that for the marine industry to continue to succeed, it must be supported by a critical pool of local talent. He commented, "The RSN-ASMI Career Transition Scheme is a timely initiative as it provides the mechanism for an inflow of interested and experienced ex-RSN personnel into our industry to support its continuous growth."

Mr Heng added that he "would expect the industry to turn in another record year for 2005. There is thus a great need for the industry to tap on available skilled and experienced manpower to execute these contracts". He pointed out that with "our global leadership position in certain key products and services, and proven track record, the marine industry is indeed well positioned to offer challenging, fulfilling, dynamic and lasting careers for ex-RSN personnel".

After the reception that followed the speeches, Mr Kong Jen Siang from the Maritime/Land Transport Unit of EDB, gave the RSN personnel an overview of the marine industry. Ms Patty Xie of ASMI briefed on the details of the CT Scheme and the recruiting companies. Two former RSN personnel - Mr Kelvin Tan, Electrical Engineer with Sembawang Shipyard and Mr Roger Lim, Planning Engineer of Jurong Shipyard, shared their experiences with the navy men. Both joined the shipyards following the first career road show held in July 2004 when the scheme was in its pilot phase.

A mini-exhibition by the participating shipyards was also set up in the foyer to allow the navy personnel to discuss their career prospects with representatives from the nine recruiting shipyards. They were Jurong Shipyard, Keppel FELS, JSML Shipyard, Keppel Shipyard, Keppel Singmarine, Pan-United Marine, PPL Shipyard, Sembawang Shipyard and Singapore Technologies Marine. Some servicemen also submitted their job applications on the spot directly to the companies of their choice.

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Safety Performance in 2004

The marine industry continues to maintain the safety standards achieved in recent years. For the year 2004, there were 393 accidents cases in the industry, one fewer compared to the 394 cases reported in 2003.

Accident statistics from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) show that the Accident Frequency Rate (AFR) was 3.0 accidents per million man-hours worked for 2004. This is an improvement of 11.8% over the AFR of 3.4 accidents per million man-hours worked registered in the year before. However, it was above the target of 2.8 accidents per million man-hours worked set by the Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health for the Shipbuilding and Ship-repairing Industry (Advisory Committee), for the year 2004.

Although there was a decrease in the total number of accidents and the AFR reported in 2004, the Accident Severity Rate (ASR) in 2004 was recorded at 830 man-days lost per million man-hours worked. This rate was higher than the 454 man-days lost per million man-hours worked recorded in 2003. The increase was due to the flash fire onboard a tanker docked in a shipyard. Hence, the industry did not meet the ASR target of 350 man-days lost per million man-hours worked set by the Advisory Committee.

For the year 2005, the Advisory Committee has set the AFR and ASR targets at 2.7 accidents per million man-hours worked and 350 man-days lost per million man-hours worked respectively.

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Training Manual on Accident Case Studies for Marine Industry

ASMI has developed a training manual on "Accident Case Studies for the Marine Industry". The manual contains 28 case studies of past accidents in the industry. Each case study carries a description of the accident, observations and findings from investigation conducted as well as some lessons learnt from the accident. The manual is useful as a training aid for safety orientation and training of new supervisors and workers.

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Seminar on Striving Towards Safety Excellence in Marine Industry

ASMI and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) jointly held a seminar on "Striving Towards Safety Excellence in Marine Industry" on 29 April 2005 at Novotel Clarke Quay Singapore. It was organised in conjunction with the MOM's National Occupational Safety & Health (OSH) Campaign, "Think Safety, Work Safely". The Guest-of-Honour (GOH) was Prof Poo Aun Neow, Deputy Chairman of the Advisory Committee on OSH for the Shipbuilding and Ship-repairing Industry.

Prof Poo remarked on the significant strides in safety performance made by the marine industry over the past 12 years. However, he noted that "over the past few years, the rate of improvement in safety performance has tapered off'. "We have come a long way but we need to recognise that to bring about significant improvements to safety performance from here on, we will need to work even harder, have greater commitment, and have a paradigm shift in our mindset and attitude towards improving safety in the workplace," said Prof Poo.

The GOH noted that "the industry, coordinated through ASMI is striving towards zero tolerance, and eliminating at-risk behaviour to build a strong safety culture". He remarked that "time and conditions change, and the industry needs to constantly review the systems and practices that are in place to ensure that they continue to be relevant and effective in order to bring about an even higher level of safety".

Prof Poo observed that it will not be easy to inculcate an attitude of zero tolerance towards safety infringements within the industry when a large proportion of the workforce is made up of foreign and transient workers. There would be language difficulties and problems arising from differences in culture, backgrounds, work practices as well as attitudes towards safety. However, we must "ensure that every worker in the workplace not only understands our safety messages, but more importantly, also shares our mindset towards safety. To achieve this, the active involvement and support of the management, unions and especially the supervisors are of utmost importance. We need to inculcate in every worker that, as far as safety is concerned, everyone needs to mind everybody else's business."

He stressed that "to have a good safety culture that pervades every aspect of the workplace in the shipyards, supervisors have a key role to play. All supervisors must show by example and discourage any worker from taking unnecessary risks or 'short cuts' while carrying out his work. Workers too must be made to consciously contribute towards building the safety culture by observing the safety rules, resisting the temptation to take risks and encouraging one another not to compromise where safety is concerned". Prof Poo challenged the industry to work towards a situation where safety awareness is second nature to all its workers.

Following the GOH's address, four papers were presented by representatives from the MOM and industry. These included an overview of the safety and health situation in the industry by Mr Tan Kai Yeow, Engineer (Shipyards Branch), MOM's Occupational Safety Department (OSD). He highlighted the safety performance achieved by the industry in 2004, the Ministry's new OSH framework and areas of concern for the industry. Mr Alvin Yeo, Executive Engineer from OSD, MOM, also shared on the findings and lessons learnt from case studies of fatal accidents in the marine industry. He spoke on the common mistakes and short cuts taken as well as the critical success factors in accident prevention.

Mr Chin Sze Kiong, Group Leader of the Task Force on ASMI Safety Action Plan and member of the ASMI Safety Committee presented the tatter's strategies and programmes towards creating Incident Free Work Environment. He briefed the audience on the six key points of the ASMI Safety Agenda that companies could follow for a safer workplace. Industry OSH veteran, Mr P.K. Raveendran, rounded up the presentations with the 'Task Force's Recommendations on Tank Cleaning Requirements: A member of the Task Force on Tank Cleaning Standards and ASMI Safety Committee, Mr Ravee highlighted the recommendations and guidelines for various hotwork environments and operations.

A Question-and-Answer session comprising the four speakers and chaired by Mr Go Heng Huat, Deputy Director (Operations), OSD, MOM, allowed participants to raise concerns and clarify their doubts. Some 200 managers and supervisors from the shipyards and marine contracting companies attended the half-day seminar.

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Ministry Announces New OSH Framework to Improve Safety & Health for Workers

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has unveiled a new occupational safety and health (OSH) framework to make possible quantum improvements in the safety and health of its workers. The Ministry's target is to halve the current occupational fatality rate by 2015 and attain standards of the current top ten developed countries with good safety records.

The new OSH Framework will adopt three principles to help change mindsets and promote a self-regulation culture:

  1. Reduce risks at source by requiring all stakeholders to minimise or eliminate risks which they create.
    The new framework seeks to prevent or mitigate risks at source. It will require all workplaces to conduct risk assessments to identify the source of risks, actions to be taken and parties responsible for doing so. The parties that create the risks would be held accountable for managing and reducing those risks.
  2. Greater ownership of safety outcomes by industry.
    Legislation and enforcement will move from a prescriptive to a goal-setting approach, augmented with some prescriptive guidance for hazardous sectors and activities. Managers and workers will be responsible for developing work and safety procedures suited to their particular situations in order to achieve desired non-negotiable safety outcomes.
  3. Prevent accidents through higher penalties for poor safety management.
    MOM will impose greater financial disincentives and penalties for offences on workplaces with unsafe systems, before any accident has occurred. The purpose is to discourage tolerance of sub-optimal safety practices and create an environment where all workplaces find it more cost effective to improve their safety management systems.

To effect the new framework, the following measures would be implemented by end 2005:

  1. Redesign the legislative framework.
    The new Workplace and Safety Health Act will focus more on OSH goals and systems and set outcome goals. It will specify liabilities for a wider range of stakeholders, increase financial disincentives and penalties for offences, and institutionalise proper risk assessment along the whole work process chain. It will also enhance the responsibilities and powers of safety officers to ensure compliance with safe work practices on the ground.
  2. Set up a new Workplace Safety and Health Council.
    The Workplace Safety and Health Council will involve industry stakeholders in developing and revising safety and health standards. Its duties will include identifying new areas that require regulating, overseeing advisory committees, promoting safety and health awareness, and gathering and releasing pertinent information to the public and insurers.
  3. Set up an International Advisory Panel.
    MOM will appoint external safety and health experts to inject fresh and objective views, review and critique the regulatory regime, practices and standards in Singapore, and provide international benchmarks.
    Improve regulatory monitoring and enforcement mechanisms. As enforcement measures will focus on detection of systemic weaknesses, workplaces should have comprehensive and effective safety management systems that are complied with.

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