Maritime Energy Training Facility to Deliver Competencies for Maritime Workforce to Handle New Fuels

Apr 24, 2024, 10:11 by Hazel SIM
As the number of ships operating on zero or near-zero emission fuels grows, there is need for more maritime personnel and seafarers to be trained and equipped to operate these ships safely and efficiently. To address the current competencies gap, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) will establish an industry-supported facility for the training of the global maritime workforce in handling and operating vessels using clean marine fuels.

With hundreds of crew change conducted daily here, Singapore’s Maritime Energy Training Facility (METF) is well placed to support the training of international seafarers. Ship owners and operators can expect time and training cost savings by tapping on METF’s training facilities. Around 10,000 seafarers and other maritime personnel are expected to be trained at METF from now to the 2030s, as the facilities are progressively developed by 2026.

Setting Up of METF for the Training of Global Maritime Workforce

2.   The Letter of Intent to establish METF was signed by MPA and 22 partners1 comprising global marine engine manufacturers, international organisations, classification societies, trade associations, unions, and institutes of higher learning, at the SMW 2024 opening ceremony. The setting up of METF follows from recommendations put forth by the Tripartite Advisory Panel, formed in early 2023 by SMF and supported by MPA, to identify emerging and future skills and competencies to build for the maritime workforce.

3.   METF will be established as a decentralised network of training facilities in Singapore. It will be anchored by a new dual-fuel marine engine simulator for training on the safe handling, bunkering and management of incidents involving the use of alternative fuels, such as methanol and ammonia. Other training facilities supporting METF include the integrated engine room and bridge simulator by the Singapore Maritime Academy (SMA) at Singapore Polytechnic (SP), as well as the bridge and engine simulator at Wavelink Maritime Institute (WMI)2 for crew resource management training. For emergency response training, METF is supported by gas and fire safety training facilities at Poly Marina operated by the SMA, as well as AR-enabled scenario-based training developed by SP’s Centre of Excellence in Maritime Safety.

4.   METF will also tap various partners’ assets and training technologies to upskill the global maritime workforce, including seafarers, on the operations, bunkering and management of zero or near-zero emission-powered vessels. New training courses and curriculum will be developed by METF’s partners, and progressively rolled out from this year.

5.   MPA also aims to support and contribute to the work of the Maritime Just Transition Task Force (MJTTF)3 as one of the institutions rolling out the Baseline Training Framework for Seafarers in Decarbonization4 – which is under development – through METF. This will directly contribute to the joint International Maritime Organization (IMO)–MJTTF work to develop training provisions for seafarers in support of decarbonisation of shipping, and complements the IMO's ongoing comprehensive review of the International Convention and Code on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). Singapore is currently chairing the IMO Working Group on the comprehensive review of the STCW Convention and Code, established in 2023 under the Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping.

New Methanol handling training for ships by SMA

6.   As part of the METF curriculum, SMA has launched one of the Asia Pacific’s first training course focused on handling methanol as fuel for ships. The training course, accredited by MPA, covers operational and safety protocols during methanol fuelling developed by MPA following the first ship-to-containership methanol bunkering operation conducted in Singapore in July 2023. The course also includes a methanol firefighting practical component covering both shipboard and terminal fires. SMA currently offers two sessions of the Basic and Advanced courses every month, with plans to scale up based on the industry’s demands. The course will be open to all maritime personnel and seafarers starting in April 2024.

7.   With strong demand signalled by the industry for such common training facilities, METF is expected to catalyse investments by the industry to develop other training facilities and solutions in Singapore to tap into this growth area. MAN Energy Solutions, one of the leading global engine makers of alternative-fuel engines, recently opened a new mixed-purpose facility. The facility includes a new MAN PrimeServ5 training academy for customers and employees on the safe operation, maintenance, and troubleshooting of all MAN Energy Solutions equipment. METF is also expected to benefit corporate training academies set up by shipping companies, such as those from Eastern Pacific Shipping, to train their global seafaring crew and shore-based personnel.

Upskill maritime workforce through MPA-SMF Joint Office for Talent and Skills

8.   The MPA – SMF Joint Office for Talent and Skills (Joint Office) was established in March 2024 to coordinate and drive the tripartite efforts by the government, industry, and unions to upskill the Maritime Singapore workforce across shore-based and seafaring jobs and to ensure Singapore continues to have access to a diversity of maritime talents and experts.

9.   To provide workers with greater flexibility in the acquisition of new skills, the Joint Office will work with IHLs and industry to review and progressively convert relevant short-term courses, or on-the-job training into accredited competency-based micro-credentials. These will focus on emerging skills such as maritime cybersecurity, digitalisation, and sustainability. The micro-credentials could potentially be stacked towards formal or industry-recognised qualifications and to fill the gap in quality and flexible upskilling or reskilling opportunities for working adults while they remain in full employment. The Joint Office plans to expand the micro-credential pathway, allowing recognition of more courses and workplace learning as micro-credentials over time.



1 Annex: Maritime Energy Training Facility Partners 

2 Wavelink Maritime Institute is a maritime continuing education and training institute established in Singapore by the Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union on 1 Oct 2007 to provide quality and cost-effective maritime education and training to the maritime industry.

3 The Maritime Just Transition Task Force (MJTF) was established during COP26 in November 2021, by the International Chamber of Shipping, the International Transport Workers’ Federation, the United Nations Global Compact, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The Task Force aims to support a just and human centered decarbonisation of the shipping industry, in alignment with the Just Transition guidelines from the ILO. 

4 The Baseline Training Framework for Seafarers in Decarbonization is being developed by IMO and the MJTTF to prepare seafarers and officers for the safe operation of ships which will be running on zero and near-zero emission fuels. The framework will be first tested out in Asia through a programme led by the World Maritime University.

5 MAN PrimeServ is MAN Energy Solutions’ after-sales brand that offers a vast network of service centres to their customers all over the world. 



Published 15 Apr 2024