MPA Singapore held its annual ferry rescue exercise (FEREX), to test Singapore’s operational readiness in the event of a ferry mishap.

The annual exercise was held by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) in the waters off Sentosa, with the participation of about 200 people from 13 agencies, and companies.

This exercise sought to test Singapore’s operational readiness and response capabilities in the event of a ferry mishap incident.

However, this year MPA held its annual exercise enacting a fire on electric ferry.

The exercise played a scenario where one of the two battery compartments in an electric ferry overheated and caught fire.

Exercise scenario

For the first time, this year’s exercise involved an electric vessel mishap scenario, which simulated a battery fire occurring within the battery compartment of the ferry due to overheating, at it is reported by Eng Dih Teo, chief executive of Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).

In response to this scenario, electric ferry operator Penguin International Limited, a publicly listed Singaporean homegrown company, activated its onsite responses and vapour suppression systems.

MPA’s ferry mishap contingency plan was also activated and rescue assets from key government agencies, including patrol vessels, firefighting vessels, and a helicopter, were swiftly deployed to secure the area and support evacuation.

Passengers were safely transferred onto another electric ferry, and a helicopter winching operation was conducted for incidents in which passengers need urgent medical attention.

At the same time, on the landward side, Singapore Civil Defence Force officers were deployed at the Pasir Panjang terminal to provide immediate medical treatment for “injured” passengers.

Participation of ferry operators

The annual ferry rescue exercise was held in partnership with stakeholders, such as regional ferry operators, and observers from the various classification societies and the IMO. 

This exercise, that took place in conjunction with the 10th edition of the International Safety@Sea Week, was an opportunity for agencies and stakeholders to validate MPA’s response measures and gain experience in dealing with new scenarios and assets.

By the end of 2023, Singapore will have three electric ferries capable of carrying 200 passengers each, plying between mainland Singapore and Pulau Bukom.