Singapore MPA Partners with Tech Giant IBM to Tackle Illegal Bunkering

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Tuesday August 18, 2015

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) Monday announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with technology and consultancy giant IBM to develop new analytics-based technologies to help tackle illegal bunkering, and improve overall maritime and port operations.

Under the two-year agreement, IBM will develop "a unified platform" of real-time data and analysis tools all aimed at helping port operators make better operational choices.

One part of the platform intends to monitor and detect unusual vessel behaviour in an effort to prevent illegal bunkering through a combination of analytical, anomaly detection, and data mining techniques.

It was also suggested that the platform could help improve safety, for example by combining vessel positions with weather data, and then report any instances of concern to help avoid accidents.

"Every year, there are about 130,000 vessel calls at the Port of Singapore, which means there is a vessel arriving or leaving Singapore every two to three minutes," explained MPA in a statement.

"This research collaboration will serve to ease potential traffic congestion and elevate safety standards, securing Singapore's position as a global hub port and a leading international maritime centre."

The MOU was signed at the launch of the National Maritime Safety at Sea Council event, marking a joint investment between the two parties, the total amount of which was not revealed.

"MPA is happy to partner IBM on this important MOU to leverage new technologies and harness data analytics that not only enhance current maritime operations, but support our smart port initiatives for the Tuas Next Generation Port," said Andrew Tan, CEO, MPA.

"Our collaboration with IBM will see a good mix of our research expertise, software technologies and maritime domain knowledge to create new capabilities for the maritime industry to support Singapore's vision towards a safe, smart and efficient port."

Tim Greisinger, Managing Director, IBM Singapore, commenting on the partnership, said "the capabilities that will be created in this initiative are aligned to Singapore's aspirations to be a smart nation, and we are honoured to be partnering MPA in our joint commitment to improve the long-term efficiencies of the maritime industry and enhance Singapore's position as a world-class international maritime centre."

In May, it was suggested that the higher bunker standards in Singapore may be inadvertently causing ships departing from the city-state to be targeted by pirates.