Singapore improves its emergency response capabilites

A member of the Singapore Civil Defence Force wears a chemical protection suit during a chemical spill exercise off Jurong Island. Credit: ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images

How an increase of larger ships and the rise in terrorism threats at ports has prompted a decade-long project for Singapore to adapt its emergency response capabilities

he journey of Singapore’s marine firefighters mirrors that of the city-state’s development as a shipping hub. Although the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), which already fights all fires on land, took over marine firefighting operations from the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore in 2012, this transition began in 2009.

Assistant commissioner Derek Tan told SAS, “Against the backdrop of the global terrorism situation, Singapore’s position as one of the world’s busiest maritime hubs continues to make us a vulnerable target. So back in 2009, a joint consultancy study was carried out by DNV GL for us to look into national capabilities for dealing with security threats in the maritime domain.” Tan is the division commander of the SCDF Marine Division force.

The study concluded that SCDF should take over the marine firefighting function and develop capabilities to further enhance the management of maritime security-related incidents and their consequences in the port of Singapore.

This is an excerpt of the SAS February edition. To have access to the full article, and more SAS features, please subscribe here.