More than 100 personnel from ten organisations (Annex) took part in the exercise at sea near Kukor Buoy. The exercise scenario involved the evacuation of 72 passengers on-board a domestic ferry after her grounding on a large underwater object.
Passengers were then evacuated onto life rafts and a rescue ferry alongside the grounded vessel. A search and rescue operation was also conducted for missing passengers.
New to this year’s exercise, MPA trialled the use of smart devices to boost search and rescue efforts. For example, a water-activated internet-of-things (IoT) device was attached to a life jacket to test if Singapore’s 4G or Long-Term Evolution (LTE) network was able to pick up the device’s signal and determine the location of a man overboard quickly and accurately.
Such smart devices will improve agencies’ emergency response, especially in scenarios of poor visibility or hours of darkness.
A separate table-top exercise was held on 16 August 2018 to test the activation and notification procedures as well as operational decision-making processes in handling of ferry mishaps.
Captain Kevin Wong, MPA’s Port Master, said, "Each year, MPA conducts a Ferry Emergency Exercise to test the coordination and operational readiness of our agencies. Through this exercise, we work with other agencies to fine-tune their processes and share best practices. MPA will continue to work with our stakeholders to ensure safety of navigation and passengers on board ferries.”