Incidents & Emergency


Who do I contact to report an incident?

In the event of any incidents, such as collisions, damages to craft, any injuries or any loss of life, the owner, master or the person in charge of the craft must report such incidents to the Port Master within 48 hours of the incident.

Please contact Marine Safety at Tel: 6325 2488 / 6325 2489.

Who do I contact for Emergency Assistance?

The Port Operations Control Centre (POCC), which is part of the MPA, is the operational headquarters for a maritime search and rescue region (SRR) that covers both the island of Singapore and over 1 million square kilometres of the South China Sea (see Singapore SRR map in Annex III).

Operating 24 hours, the POCC operates a shore-based Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) facility to monitor distress alerts and calls from ships, and co-ordinate SAR operations. It also disseminates Maritime Safety Information (MSI) through the VHF, NAVTEX and SafetyNET systems.



VTS WORKING CHNNELS: 7, 10, 14, and 73

TEL: (+65) 6226 5539 or (+65) 6325 2493

FAX: +65 6227 9971

TELEX: 20021


Singapore POCC’s designated MMSI number is 005630002.

MSI Broadcast

Routine broadcast of navigational warnings, weather bulletin and other information related to safety of navigation is conducted via:

VHF Channel 9

Timing of broadcast: Once every two hours commencing from 0100h (UTC)


POCC transmitter identification character is “C”.

• Timing of broadcast: 0020–0030h; 0420–0430h; 0820–0830h; 1220–1230h; 1620–1630h and 2020–2030h (UTC).

• The weather bulletin is broadcast twice daily at 0020h and 1220h (UTC).


Broadcast is conducted on an ad hoc basis.

For ships that operate beyond the range of the Singapore SRR, relevant contacts for use in emergency should be obtained before proceeding.


The VHF radiotelephone reporting procedures for SRS registered pleasure craft manoeuvring in port shall apply to:

vessels of 300 gross tons and above

vessels of 30 metres or more in length

vessels of 30 metres or more in height

All reports made to the designated control stations must be in English. Timings shall be given in local time following the 24-hour standard format.

Vessels need to use the appropriate VHF channels when reporting to the relevant shore stations.

The communication channels listed here are for MPA and other agencies.

What are the different Stations & When should I contact them?

What is a Distress Call?

Distress call is made when in extreme danger such as in the event of a sinking or fire.


Mayday (x3)

This is (ship’s name or call sign x3)

Mayday (ship’s name or call sign)

Position Lat and Long /Location

Nature of distress........................

Aid required.................................

Number of persons on board and any useful information...................................






Position 01° 16.5’N, 103° 55 East or Eastern Fairway

My boat is on fire and sinking, I require immediate assistance

4 persons on board,


You may broadcast your distress message over VHF channel 16 in the following format.

What is an Urgency Call?

Urgency call is made when in need of help but not in immediate danger.


PAN-PAN (x3)

This is (ship’s name or call sign x3)

Position Lat and Long /Location

Nature of urgency........................

Type of assistance required........

Number of persons on board and any useful information...................................





Position 01° 16.5’N, 103° 55 East or Eastern Fairway

My boat has lost propulsion and I am drifting into traffic

I require assistance

4 persons on board and my boat is a 10 foot yacht.


Is my mobile phone a good communication tool when it comes to an emergency?

A mobile phone may be a useful communication equipment but it is not a substitute for marine radio due to the following reasons.

  • Mobile phones may lose reception at certain locations.
  • It is rarely waterproof and may get damaged easily.
  • In an emergency, its communications cannot be heard by nearby vessels, which may be the parties available to provide assistance.

What to do when there is a "man overboard" situation?

Person overboard is a distress situation.

Should this occur, do not hesitate to call for help through your VHF radio or other forms of communication if you are unable to rescue the person in the water immediately.

To decrease the risk of the propeller inflicting an injury, turn the stern away from the person by i

mmediately putting the helm over to the side on which the person has fallen.

  • Throw a lifebuoy over the side to assist the person. This lifebuoy will also serve as a marker.

  • Approach the person slowly and from the downwind making sure you do not run or drift into him.

  • When close enough, you may throw a line or the person may swim to you.

TIPS: Agree on and practice your man overboard drill with all those on your boat, so that everyone is aware of what to do in an emergency situation.

What to do when there is a fire onboard?

In the event of a fire occurring onboard, ensure that everyone is wearing a life jacket and use extinguishers to control the fire.

  • If the fire is small, use an appropriate type of fire extinguisher and aim it at the base of the flames. Sweep the discharge nozzle from side to side until the fire is put out. Keep monitoring the situation and ensure that there is no chance of re-ignition.

  • If your pleasure craft is moving when the fire starts, position the craft downwind so that the wind will blow the fire over the side. This will prevent the fire from spreading to other parts of the craft.

TIPS: Good fire prevention practices require a clean interior that is free from waste, particularly oily waste. They also require well-serviced extinguishers to be placed at appropriate positions and a crew that knows how to use the fire extinguishers and that understands the principles of firefighting.

What to do when my vessel is sinking?

If your pleasure craft starts taking in water, the first thing to do is ensure that everyone puts on a life jacket.

  • Try to locate the source of the leak and reduce the leak if possible. Call for help through your VHF radio or other forms of communication.

  • Try to bail the water out to the best of your ability.

  • Stay together in a group and with the craft should it submerge or turn over as you will have a greater chance of being found.

  • Do not attempt to swim for shore unless absolutely certain that you will be able to make the distance.

What are the collision prevention practices?

1. Lookout

Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper lookout by sight and hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and assess the risk of any collision.

It is the responsibility of the master of the craft to maintain a proper all round lookout that extends to the back of the craft.

2. Safe speed

Every vessel shall at all times proceed at a safe speed so that proper and effective action can be taken to avoid collision and so that the vessel can be stopped within a distance appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions.

There is no definite safe speed that can be defined in knots as it is subjected to different conditions such as:

  • Weather
  • Visibility
  • Manoeuvrability of craft
  • Master’s experience
  • Density of traffic

3. Risk of collision

Every vessel shall use all available means appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions to determine if there is a risk of collision. If there is any doubt, such risk shall be deemed to exist.

Proper use shall be made of radar equipment if fitted and operational, including long-range scanning to obtain early warning of any risk of a collision.

Assumptions should not be made on the basis of scanty information, especially scanty radar information.

In determining if a risk of collision exists, the following considerations shall be taken into account:

  • Such risk shall be deemed to exist if the compass bearing of an approaching vessel does not appreciably change.
  • Such risk may sometimes exist even when an appreciable bearing change is evident. This is particularly so when approaching a very large vessel or a tow, or when approaching a vessel at close range.

4. Action to avoid collision

Any action taken to avoid collision shall be taken in accordance with the Rules in this section and shall, if the circumstances of the case allow, be positive, made in ample time and observance of good seamanship. Valuable time can be wasted whilst mariners on vessels approaching each other try to make contact on VHF radio instead of complying with the COLREG.

Any alteration of course or speed to avoid a collision should, if the circumstances of the case allow, be large enough to be readily apparent to another vessel observing visually or by radar. It is best to avoid a succession of small alterations of course and/or speed.

If there is sufficient sea room, alteration of course alone may be the most effective action to avoid a close-quarter situation provided that the action is taken in good time, is substantial and does not result in another close-quarters situation.

Action taken to avoid collision with another vessel should be such as to result in the ability for the other vessel to pass at a safe distance.

The effectiveness of the action must be carefully monitored until the other vessel is finally past and clear.

If necessary to avoid collision or to allow more time to assess the situation, a vessel may slacken her speed or take all way off by stopping or reversing her propulsion system.

A vessel cannot impede the passage – and safe passage - of another vessel. It is also obliged, when the circumstances of the case dictate, to take early action to allow sufficient sea room for the safe passage of the other vessel. required

A vessel’s obligation to not impede the passage or safe passage of another vessel persists when approaching another vessel. To uphold this obligation, it must take action to avoid a risk of collision.

A vesse

l must also full uphold the rules of conduct as set down in this section even when passage of another vessel is not impeded when approaching another vessel.

5. Overtaking
  • A vessel overtaking any other vessel must stay out of the way of the vessel being overtaken.

  • A vessel can be overtaken on either of its sides provided the overtaking vessel stay well clear of the other vessel. Continue to monitor the other vessel that you have overtaken and ensure that you do not cut in front of its bow.

6. Head-on situations

When two power-driven vessels are meeting on reciprocal or nearly reciprocal courses so as to involve risk of collision, both vessels must alter their course to starboard so that each shall pass on the port side of the other.

Such a situation shall be deemed to exist when a vessel sees the other ahead or nearly ahead and by night she could see the masthead lights of the other in a line or nearly in a line and/or both sidelights and by day she observes the corresponding aspect of the other vessel.

When a vessel is in any doubt as to whether such a situation exists she shall assume that it does exist and act accordingly.

When there is doubt about whether two vessels are approaching head-on or nearly head-on, it should be assumed that this is the case and both vessels must alter course to starboard.

Any alteration should be large enough so that it is apparent to the other vessel.

7. Crossing situations

This situation would frequently arise and it is always better to avoid a close-quarter situation and go right around the stern of the other vessel rather than cross ahead of the other vessel. Going around the stern may not be practical at all times but if the situation permits, it should be implemented.

Any alteration should be large enough so that it is apparent to the other vessel.

8. Action by give-way vessel

A vessel that has been directed to keep out of the way of another vessel must, as far as possible, take early and substantial action to keep well clear.

Do not wait till the last minute to take action!

9. Action by stand-on vessel

When one of two vessels has been designated to keep out of the way, the other vessel shall maintain her course and speed. The stand-on vessel may however take action to avoid collision by manoeuvring as soon as it becomes apparent to her that the vessel required to keep out of the way is not taking appropriate action in compliance with the rules set down here.

10. Sailing vessels

In order to avoid the risk of a collision, when two sailing vessels are approaching one another, one of them must keep out of the way of the other as follows: When each has the wind on a different side, the vessel that has the wind on the port side shall keep out of the way of the other; When both have the wind on the same side, the vessel that is to windward shall keep out of the way of the vessel that is to leeward;