Following several trials using drones to survey cargo tanks of ships, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) is developing the acceptance criteria for the usage of such remote inspection techniques on board Singapore-registered ships. The acceptance criteria will be ready by first quarter next year.
As explained, methods of remote inspection, using drones armed with cameras and ship inspecting robots, are safer and can save time and cost for ship-owners, as they eliminate the need for traditional method of survey, such as erecting staging in the cargo tanks. Marine surveyors also do not have to risk their lives by having to climb high places or be exposed to adverse conditions to check for defects.
Further, by end of this year, in addition to E-Certs issued by Recognised Organisations (ROs), MPA will also issue e-certificates directly to Singapore-registered ships. The use of E-Certs will save time and costs, as they reduce the need for hard copies, allow for instantaneous and simultaneous transmissions of documents, as well as reduce the risk of fraud.
Singapore will be among the first Flag Administrations in Asia to issue E-Certs. Before E-Certs, hard copies of over two dozen certificates such as Certificate of Registry, Safe Manning Certificate and Load Line Certificates among others, are kept on board ships to provide proof that the vessels are compliant with the various regulations or conventions applicable to them. Converting the hardcopy certificates to E-Certs reduces the manpower and financial commitments in the preparation, printing and delivery of these certificates.
In addition, MPA has also expanded the Marinet to include two new online services namely application for ship registration and appointment of manager form as well as application for various documents issued by SRS. The expansion will provide timely issuance of certificate/declaration to the vessel.