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S$4m maritime simulation centre launched

A new maritime simulation centre was launched on Friday, as part of a plan to attract more Singaporeans to join the industry.

SINGAPORE: A new maritime simulation centre was launched on Friday, as part of a plan to attract more Singaporeans to join the industry.

The centre, which costs some S$4 million, boasts state-of-the-art facilities -- including engine room and liquid cargo handling simulators, the latest 240-degree full mission bridge simulator, as well as an electronic chart display and information system.

Called the Wavelink Maritime Simulation Centre, it is one of the first few maritime institutes in Singapore to house four simulation systems in one location.

It will allow maritime officers to get more effective hands-on training in various aspects such as ship manoeuvring and resource management, and prepare themselves for extreme conditions and emergencies without being put through real risks and danger.

They can also learn to use shipboard equipment such as electronic charts, automatic identification systems and radar plotting aids.

The centre, which is housed at the Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability Institute in Jurong, is owned by the Singapore Maritime Officers' Union (SMOU).

By enhancing the training of maritime cadets and officers, the union hopes more Singaporeans will consider seafaring as a career.

SMOU General Secretary Mary Liew said: "Traditionally, seafaring skills are very much time-based learning, that is the longer you work onboard a ship, the better skills you have.

"But now with simulation training, the cadets and officers' skills are accelerated with real-time feedback in a risk-free environment.

"Thus, they become better officers, have better jobs and better lives. It is a win-win situation for them as well as the shipping companies."

For a small country that is highly dependent on international trade, the maritime industry is a core pillar of Singapore's economic development.

It contributes seven per cent of Singapore's GDP and provides 170,000 jobs.

But out of some 20,000 officers in more than 4,200 Singapore-flagged ships, only 1,605 are Singaporeans. 

Ms Liew added: "With this new set-up, the Wavelink Maritime Simulation Centre, we can actually train a thousand (officers) per year, and we look forward to training more of our seafarers, and to give them a hands-on experience.

"Hopefully, we attract more Singaporeans, for them to be more aware of such a career."

Secretary-General of the National Trades Union Congress, Mr Lim Swee Say, was also at the launch.

He assured the audience that the government and unions will help as many Singaporeans as possible to move into the sector, which offers good career prospects and good salaries. 

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