UK flag looks to Singapore

UK flag is looking to Singapore for inspiration and guidance as they leave the EU:

In 1971 Britsh armed forces pulled out of Singapore and left their former colony with hardly any maritime industry and expertise.
Now UK is pulling out of EU and have to “go it alone” as Singapore had to do 50 years ago. At least they have a proud maritime background to draw on, while Singapore had none, except a will and determination to succeed.

At that time Singapore Ship Registry had only a few ships under it’s flag and very few licensed Officers and Engineers. Local owners used mostly Panama flag.

I joined my first Singapore flag ship in 1970 as Ch.Officer and became Master in 1971.
At one stage I was the only one on board that held a license equal to my position. Everybody else was on dispensation.

Today Singapore has one of the largest fleets in the world under it’s flag and are the leading Maritime Hub in the world. Not bad when you look at it.

It will be interesting to see what they can offer to be competitive with other Flags. The name isn’t what matters anymore, it is a race to the bottom.

I think you worked for a ship survey company doing pre- tow surveys with British principals. Legal firms and engineering firms did not suddenly appear from nowhere with independence. It might be fashionable to dismiss the brits contribution to the successful transition of Singapore to an independent country but the reality is somewhat different. The business acumen and judgement shown by those Singaporeans who took up the business of government at independence had been British educated . Lee Kuan Yew studied at FitzWilliam College, Cambridge graduating with first class honours and practiced as a barrister at Middle Temple in London.
The naval base at Sembawang was a pretty useful piece of real estate to start a ship repair business.
Within a year of independence work had started on the 400,000 tonne Hatachi- Zozen graving dock.


It’s not as if the UK flag didn’t already exist.

The Red Ensign Group is alive and well.

I sailed on Singapore ships before joining NDA as as a Freelance surveyor.

I did many different tasks as MWS, not just “pre-tow surveys”. Mostly rig moves, but also load-outs of rigs on barges. heavy lift loading, transport and off-load, attendance for offshore installation project and all kinds of MWS jobs you can think of.

This was at the very beginning of MWS existence and the offshore oil and gas exploration in S.E.Asia, so we learnt on the job and had to just ignore stupid comments from ignorant people that had all; “been in the the GoM and had never heard about such BS as tying down loose equipment for a short rig move.”

Yes the Naval Yard at Sembawang and Keppel Shipyard was handed over to the Singapore Government before the Brits left and Japanese expertise came in to help develop ship repair yards in Singapore.

Americans saw opportunities for building rigs in Singapore and set up yards there in the early 1970s and other companies set up Offshore bases and operated OSVs from Singapore.
Today it is Singapore companies building rigs for the world market, incl. in the US and operating sophisticated offshore vessels all over the world.

That is how the globalised world work today and I see nothing wrong with that. If you want to be part of the world market you compete on a level playing field with the rest of the world,