Singapore Maritime Institute to Support Next Phase of Maritime R&D Activities with Funding and Partnerships

Singapore, 14 October 2021 | For Immediate Release

The eleventh edition of the SMI Forum, organised by the Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI), kicked off today. Themed “Maritime Safety in the 4.0 Era: Breaking New Frontiers’, this year’s SMI Forum highlights the role of research and development (R&D) towards enhancing maritime safety and efficiency. 

2 The event was graced by Mr Chee Hong Tat, Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Transport. In his opening address, Mr Chee outlined the key role of innovation, deep-tech and research in enabling Maritime Singapore to remain relevant and ahead in global competition. Mr Chee also highlighted how SMI had been instrumental in setting the R&D direction for the local maritime industry and congratulated SMI on achieving its 10-year milestone. To support SMI in pursuing its mission to grow Singapore as a leading global maritime research hub in Next Generation Port, Smart Shipping, and Green Technologies, Mr Chee announced that the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) will be allocating S$80 million of funding to support SMI’s R&D activities for the next five years, from 2022-2026. This is in addition to funding under the Maritime Transformation Programme provided by NRF in 2019 that is managed by SMI.     

3 This year’s SMI Forum was held as a hybrid event at the Singapore Polytechnic and streamed virtually to around 200 maritime professionals and academia around the world. 

Celebrating SMI’s 10th Anniversary 

4 Established in April 2011, SMI celebrates its 10th Anniversary this year. A special commemorative video was launched at the SMI Forum to celebrate SMI’s journey and achievements over the past decade in driving maritime research and innovation to build up local maritime R&D capabilities. 

5 Said Mr Wong Weng Sun, Chairman of SMI Board and Governing Council, “Throughout the past ten years, SMI had worked closely with the industry and research community both in Singapore and overseas. These international collaborative initiatives with strategic overseas research organisations further enriched and facilitated impactful global R&D exchange and open innovation with our Centres of Excellence. We shall continue to deepen our bilateral R&D relations with our existing international research partners and forge new ones to expand our knowledge frontiers and global R&D network.”

6 Mr Wong added, “SMI’s vision and goal for the next 10 years is to establish Singapore as a world-class Global Maritime Knowledge & Innovation Hub with a refreshed mission to make Singapore a leading global maritime research centre of excellence in three key areas of Next Generation Port, Smart Shipping, and Green Technologies. SMI will share more details in the months ahead, and we invite you to join us in our next lap to deliver greater impact through maritime R&D.”

New Navigation Research Simulator Positions Singapore as a Leading Training Hub for Ship Crew

7 Mr Chee also launched Southeast Asia’s first dedicated research simulator for safe navigation – the Advanced Navigation Research Simulator (ANRS). Set up at the Centre of Excellence in Maritime Safety (CEMS), a Centre of Excellence jointly established by SMI and Singapore Polytechnic (SP), it consists of a full mission Ship Bridge and a Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) System which simulates ship navigation and VTS operations. The simulator is equipped with state-of-the-art sensors to capture ship crew’s behaviours during training. It allows the CEMS to work closely with Singapore Maritime Academy at SP and industry partners to enhance the training assessment and delivery for ship crew using Artificial Intelligence. 

(Please refer to Annex 1 for more information on ANRS)

Inking of Maritime R&D Collaborations

8 At the event, Mr Chee also witnessed the inking of several Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs):

a) MoU on R&D Collaboration between CEMS and Wärtsilä Voyage Pacific 

Wärtsilä Voyage’s comprehensive collaboration with CEMS covers assistive technologies for use on-board ships and during training, simulators to study human behaviour and competency to enhance the safety of navigation, infusing wearable technologies. It also covers the development of training guidelines and contents for remote operations. Lastly, scenario-based “Standards Validation” simulation for autonomous vessel research will also be an area to support Singapore’s pursuit in Maritime Autonomous Surface Ship development. The projects are scheduled to be implemented over the next two years. 

(Please refer to Annex 2 for details of this MoU)

b) MoUs with Industry to Advance Maritime Artificial Intelligence Research in Singapore

SMI and three industry partners, Kongsberg Digital AS, RightShip and Wärtsilä Voyage Limited, signed MoUs today to cooperate on a Maritime Artificial Intelligence (AI) R&D programme. Recognising the need to create an environment to promote data-driven innovation, and to drive increased use of data-driven tools, applications, and technologies in the maritime industry, SMI will collaborate with the various MoU parties to catalyse Maritime AI applications over the next two years.

Mr William Hodgman, the Australian High Commissioner to Singapore, Mrs Benita Lindström, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Finland to Singapore and Mr Andreas Aure, First Secretary and Deputy Head of Mission, Royal Norwegian Embassy joined Mr Chee in witnessing the MoU signings. 

(Please refer to Annex 3 for details of these MoUs)

c) Renewal of MoU between SMI and University of Turku, Finland to Promote Maritime R&D Activities

SMI and the University of Turku (UTU) in Finland first signed an MoU in 2016 to jointly promote and collaborate on maritime R&D activities, and will renew the MoU for another 5 years. SMI and UTU seek to further pursue innovation and deepen R&D collaborations in SMI’s renewed R&D focus areas in Next Generation Port; Smart Shipping; and Green Technologies.

Mrs Benita Lindström, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Finland in Singapore joined Mr Chee in witnessing the MoU signing. 

(Please refer to Annex 4 for details of this MoU)

d) Renewal of MoU between Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore and China Waterborne Transport Research Institute

MPA and China Waterborne Transport Research Institute also renewed the MoU signed in 2019 to collaborate on research. Under the MoU, WTI and MPA will continue cooperation in the field of maritime and port affairs, research and development. 

Seeking Solutions for Automated Quay Crane Adoption through Maritime R&D Call

9 The launch of a new maritime R&D call on automated quay crane (QC) jointly by SMI, MPA and PSA was also announced at the SMI Forum. Open from 14 October 2021 to 5 January 2022, the aim is to support research and development of automated systems and novel concepts for full automated QC operations. The intended solution should address three focus areas to enhance vessel side operation:

a. Reliable and fast human and obstacle detection under all-weather condition.

b. Advance algorithm to integrate sensor, image and control signals technology to navigate a QC spreader automatically through non-standardised environment.

c. Robust wired and/or wireless communication to transmit sensors’ data from the QC spreader to the QC Programmable Logic Controller.

(Interested parties can register here for a briefing session organised by SMI to find out more about this R&D Call)

10 Said Mr Tan Cheng Peng, Executive Director of the Singapore Maritime Institute, “SMI recognises the importance of establishing close linkages and partnerships with local and international industry and research communities, to further drive and propel maritime research and development collaborations in Singapore. The MoUs signify SMI’s commitment to foster strategic collaborations with diverse stakeholders, to build a stronger maritime R&D ecosystem and together, devise solutions to address complex challenges to be future-ready in the maritime domain.”

Annex 1: Factsheet on the Advanced Navigation Research Simulator at Singapore Polytechnic
Annex 2: Factsheet on CEMS and Wärtsilä Voyage Pacific MoU on R&D Collaboration 
Annex 3: Factsheet on SMI’s MoUs with Industry to Advance Maritime Artificial Intelligence Research in Singapore
Annex 4: Factsheet on SMI and University of Turku, Finland MoU to Promote Maritime R&D Activities
Annex 5: Speech by SMI Chairman Mr Wong Weng Sun

**End of Release**

About the Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI)

The Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI) is a joint effort by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB). 

Established in April 2011, SMI develops strategies and programmes to achieve its mission with key focus areas in sectors such as port, shipping and maritime services. SMI charts the maritime research strategy and promotes greater industry-academia research and development (R&D) collaborations to be undertaken in Singapore. 

Through a whole-of-government approach, SMI drives initiatives with industry-wide impacts to enhance the overall competitiveness of the local maritime industry, and to strengthen research and development (R&D) capabilities in support of Singapore as a global maritime knowledge hub.

For more information, please visit

About the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) 

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) was established on 2 February 1996, with the mission to develop Singapore as a premier global hub port and international maritime centre (IMC), and to advance and safeguard Singapore’s strategic maritime interests. MPA is the driving force behind Singapore’s port and maritime development, taking on the roles of Port Authority, Port Regulator, Port Planner, IMC Champion, and National Maritime Representative. MPA partners the industry and other agencies to enhance safety, security and environmental protection in our port waters, facilitate port operations and growth, expand the cluster of maritime ancillary services, and promote maritime R&D and manpower development.

For more information, please visit

For media clarification, please contact:

Jacqueline Goh (Ms)
Senior Manager, Outreach and Corporate Communications
Singapore Maritime Institute
Mobile: (65) 9228 9032

Tay Hsu Chern (Ms)
Senior Manager, Corporate Communications 
Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Mobile: (65) 91114205