By Sadatul Maraini binti Haji Matarsad, Communications Specialist, Corporate Communications, Office of the Chief Executive, Maritime and Port Authority of Brunei Darussalam.
A vibrant maritime industry is essential to support Brunei Darussalam’s long-term economic growth and vitality. At the Maritime and Port Authority of Brunei Darussalam (MPABD), we actively support the maritime trade, business and safe movement of people, and align our activities with our colleagues in the air and land transportation sectors, as part of our commitment to the whole-of-nation approach.
Under the vision of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah Ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, within five years since the establishment of MPABD in 2017, we have achieved some significant milestones in the area of maritime safety, international cooperation and people.
Safety is the first priority
Since 2021, MPABD has embarked on a comprehensive campaign to rejuvenate existing aids to navigation (ATONS) assets. With increasing marine traffic into Brunei Darussalam waters and Muara Port, it is crucial that vessels plying trade into Brunei navigate safely for their safe arrival and departure. This asset refresh campaign will also identify new ATONS required to support the expansion of business activities on Pulau Muara Besar and the increase in capacity at Muara Port. The key activities are expected to be completed by the end of 2024 and will enhance marine safety, increased safety of life and property at sea, as well as the protection of the marine environment. MPABD’s Muara Coastal Signal Station recently underwent refurbishment, and there are plans to do the same for its Kuala Belait branch. In addition, the replacement of light equipment at Lumut Lighthouse has reached completion.
Closer to home, MPABD continues to engage grassroots leaders to spread awareness and our approach to boat safety. We have engaged several penghulus, village heads and other key stakeholders on the importance of situational awareness and the wearing of life jackets when operating water taxis and when out fishing. For 2022, we have conducted nine briefing sessions for prospective Class 9 boat licence holders and boat owners on the importance of safety at sea.
Developing local talent
Another important pillar for MPABD is the close collaboration with the industry in developing career opportunities for locals. MPABD is proud to be part of the launch of the National Maritime Competency Framework, together with Brunei Gas Carriers Sdn Bhd (BGC) and Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE). By establishing the required competency profile and requirement for seafarers, this will allow our seafarers to be recognised globally, based on formally adopted international requirements, including certifications and training standards, including the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW).
Equally important, MPABD, in cooperation with BGC, Manpower Planning and Employment Council (MPEC) and IBTE, hosted the first National Maritime Dialogue to give all parties the opportunity to share their experiences, industry insights, network and address key issues to shape a more conducive maritime ecosystem to cater to all aspects of maritime development, especially in attracting talent to the maritime sector.
As shipping is a global industry, Brunei Darussalam’s legislation should be aligned with existing International Maritime Organisation (IMO) regulations. Therefore, we have been active in 2022 by signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the mutual recognition of certificates issued under the provisions of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch Keeping for Seafarers 1978 (STCW Convention) with Ghana, the United Arab Emirates and Bangladesh. With this signing, our seafarers with STCW certificate of competency and proficiency will be able to serve onboard vessels registered under Ghana, the UAE and Bangladesh, and vice-versa.
The MoU also serves as a bridge to strengthen our cooperation with leading maritime countries, in enhancing maritime safety, training and knowledge sharing. The signing of the MoU with Ghana marked an important milestone as the first IMO member state from Africa to recognise Brunei Darussalam’s STCW certification, and vice versa. The MoU also raises Brunei Darussalam’s profile as a maritime nation, while at the same time increasing the pool of trained and certified local seafarers.
Nurturing maritime growth
In our pursuit of supporting Brunei’s Vision 2035 goals of generating new revenue streams and employment opportunities, MPABD are collaborating with government agencies and the industry to identify new downstream shipping economic activities.
The Brunei Bay Southern (BBSA) anchorage agreement between MPABD and Amarco Services Sdn Bhd marked a significant milestone for the shipping community and opened a new chapter in our shipping industry. Both parties will now be working closely to commence anchorage services in June 2023. When operational, this will allow vessels to conduct crew changes, stock up on supply or provisions, garbage and oil slops removal, and in-water surveys and repairs complementing the establishment of the Anson marine repair yard scheduled to start in 2024. There is also potential for ship-to-ship transfer activities at the anchorage.
With the exceptional combination of geographical and climate attributes, Brunei Bay is considered one of the best anchorage grounds, with an excellent security record and reputation. With robust promotion, BBSA will firmly put Brunei Darussalam on the regional shipping map and underline our ambitions to grow the maritime industry.
We’re committed to inspiring change in the workplace and creating opportunities for development and learning. We hope to inspire the next generation of leaders by placing emphasis on making sure all our staff reach their full potential.
Awang Abdul Muiz bin Ajis, Legal Officer, Legal Affairs
As part of the legal team, Muiz’s key contribution to the nation is to ensure MPABD’s legislations are reviewed and updated to align with prevailing international norms and domestic requirements. Equally important, Muiz provides legal advice to all departments, divisions, sections, units within MPABD and management, as well as being a part of the corporate secretarial team that ensures smooth proceeding of MPABD’s board of directors meetings and facilitates the flow of information between the management and the board of directors.
Dayangku Siti Hajar binti Pengiran Haji Metassan, Finance Officer, Finance Division
Dk Siti Hajar supports MPABD’s drive to grow revenue and shape new financial processes to ensure our continued success. She has had the opportunity to perform key financial tasks that support MPABD’s core operations and how we meet the ever-growing demand from the public and our customers. One of her key achievements is the digitalisation and implementation of MPABD’s financial control system, thus ensuring compliance with accounting deadlines and standards in accordance with international accounting norms.
Dina Azureen binti Juanda, Officer, Regional and International Maritime Affairs Section
Since joining MPABD in 2021, Dina has quickly adapted to her role in the Regional and International Division (RIMA), as Brunei Darussalam strives to leverage IMO conventions to raise our national maritime regulations and standards, while ensuring that the shipping industry becomes safer and cleaner. This is achieved with cooperation from other maritime nations that are members of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) at the ASEAN-level through the Maritime Transport Working group and the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).
The Maritime and Port Authority of Brunei Darussalam (MPABD) is a statutory body established under the MPABD Act (Chapter 222). MPABD manages the navigation, maritime safety and regulations. More than 300 commercial vessels visit the ports of Brunei Darussalam each year, contributing significantly to the economy, creating thousands of jobs and supporting countless businesses. We work 24/7 to ensure safe navigation for these ships, jointly coordinate security for our ports and protection for our marine environment. Together, we keep the ports safe, secure and open to the world.