The biggest ever shake-up in Singapore’s shipping industry is set to come into force in less than a months’ time. In fact, all over the world, maritime regulators, ship owners, port authorities and countless stakeholders are feverishly preparing for January 1 2020.
Here in Singapore, the sight of countless large ships moored or docked in our waters is a sight we rarely take notice of – it’s simply part of our daily environment and the basic fabric of our economy. Most observers won’t be aware of the countless thousands of marine professionals who sustain these ships.
Underwater Hull Inspection has been around for centuries. In bygone days, the strongest swimmers on galley ships were sent below hull with primitive tools to remove barnacles and seaweed, or to patch up holes. As ships got bigger and more sophisticated, the necessity for regular hull inspection by the first generation of commercial divers became more imperative as a means to avoid ocean catastrophe from hidden damage.
Approximately 100,000 ships pass through Singapore’s 105km-long waterway each year, accounting for about one-quarter of the world’s traded goods, according to Todayonline.com. Whilst we welcome the vessels, we’re not so happy with the alien invasive species (AIS) that hitch a free one-way ticket to Singapore on the hulls of many ships entering our port.