Testing their readiness

Pictures by: 
Benjamin Seetor
Report by: 
Shaffiq Alkhatib

More cruise tourists are heading to Singapore. 
And that increases the possibility of maritime mishaps like the April 16 South Korean ferry disaster, where 304 people died. 
Last year, Singapore attracted 1.03 million cruise passengers and 391 cruise ships, and these are increases of 13 per cent and 17 per cent respectively from that of 2012. 
To prepare for a passenger ship incident, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) yesterday spearheaded an exercise to test the readiness of more than 20 organisations. 
After about a year of planning, more than 1,000 people from agencies such as the Singapore Police Force, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and the Singapore Armed Forces took part in the first Exercise Blue Dolphin. 
The scenario involved a fire that broke out in the engine room of one of the ships belonging to Star Cruises, the SuperStar Gemini. 
Mr Ong Hsieh Lien from Genting Hong Kong, of which Star Cruises is a member, said that because the company places a premium on safety, it readily agreed to take part in the exercise when invited by the MPA. 
The company’s corporate communications and public relations assistant vice-president added: “As Star Cruises places the safety of passengers and crew as our top priority, we regularly conduct safety exercises on our own.” 
As part of the exercise that started around noon, the SuperStar Gemini was anchored off Marina South Pier.

The article related to these pictures was first published in The New Paper on 12 July 2014.