Fun facts about Singapore’s maritime industry
In a country that’s so small that cycling end-to-end only takes 4 hours, it’s unsurprising that most of us feel like we know everything there is to know about Singapore. But set your sights beyond our shores and you’ll realise that there’s still a lot more to discover; from a hidden fish farm at Semakau Landfill to diving spots in Pulau Hantu.
We’ve scoured the seas for these 10 little-known facts about Singapore’s maritime industry.
1. There’s a functioning lighthouse on a condo
For most of us, the word “lighthouse” conjures up an image of a solitary tower overlooking the wild sea. But next time someone suggests a trip there, be sure ask “Which one?” cause as it turns out, there’s one perched right at the very top of Lagoon View Condominium.
Built in 1978, this lighthouse stands 76m above sea level and its light beam is so strong that it can be seen 42km away.
2. You can go on a cargo ship cruise to countries like Brazil, New Zealand, and India from Singapore
Image credit: @tahiti_nomade
We all need a break. But if you’re looking to go on a loooong one and find yo’self, a cargo ship cruise might just be the perfect travel plan for you. Combining the exoticism of a cruise and the isolation of a cargo, these cruises depart from Singapore to many places around the world like Brazil, Italy, New Zealand.
You also get more bang for your buck as you can travel to more countries for cheap. For instance, if you wanna get away from it all for a super long time, the 140-days trip from Singapore to Italy costs S$12,410 and stops at 16 cities like Kobe, Chiang Mai, and New Orleans for multiple days at a time. That’s under $780 a city!
3. You can take an SBS bus from Boon Lay to Pulau Samulun
Image credit: HiveMiner
Singapore’s made up of over 60 offshore islands of which Pulau Samulun is one of them. The island is home to a few manufacturing companies, but what sets it apart from the likes of Tekong and Lazarus is that you can take an SBS bus to get there!
Just head to Boon Lay Interchange and take service number 249. There’s only one road on the island so walk along it and you’ll see Jurong Shipyard, and even a food centre.
4. Ships on the Singapore Strait fire flares every New Year’s Day
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
On New Year’s Eve, East Coast Park ranks high on the list of best places to catch the fireworks. But don’t be shocked if you were to ever see extra flares in the night sky. Those sparks are courtesy of the ships lining Singapore Straits, which use the festivities as a way to get rid of expiring emergency flares.
5. Singapore is ranked the world’s top maritime capital
Image credit: Ministry of Transport
Raffles wasn’t wrong when he said that Singapore is a strategic port - it’s 2018 and our port is still going as strong as ever. In fact, we even ranked first in the list "Leading Maritime Capitals of the World”
Within that list, we ranked first under:
- Ports and logistics
- Attractiveness and competitiveness
Our port is so busy that according to the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), a vessel arrives or leaves Singapore every 2 - 3 minutes, with 1,000 vessels at our port at any given time.
6. There’s a fish farm near Pulau Semakau
Image credit: Kuhlbarra
Since young, we’ve been taught that Pulau Semakau is where all our trash is dumped on. So it’s kinda amazing to see that the actual island is a scenic beauty. But what’s even more surprising is that there’s a fish farm just off the coast of the island.
Image credit: Kuhlbarra
Kuhlbarra rears 500 tonnes of seafood annually on a farm that’s the size of 10 football fields - so there’s plenty of space for the fish to grow. If you ever get the chance to eat their fish, you’ll notice that they have a slightly sweet taste - a result of their food pellets containing salmon oil, protein-rich vegetables, and soya bean.
You can also buy fish directly from their website and find recipes there for free.
7. Pulau Bukom houses Shell’s largest oil refinery in the world
Image credit: Shell
Pulau Bukom is like Singapore’s very own Area 51 - no one can access the island unless you’re working there. But within the towering steel structures that fill the land, lies Shell’s largest oil refinery in the world which can process 500,000 barrels of crude oil daily.
The oil is supplied to Shell businesses around Singapore in the retail, and chemical sectors while 50% of Bukom’s products like fuel, lubricants, and gas are supplied to countries in the Asia Pacific region.
8. You can snorkel and dive in Pulau Hantu
Image credit: Marlin Divers
You don’t need to book an expensive resort and flight just to dive. Despite its forbidding name, Pulau Hantu is a favourite haunt for fishing, and snorkeling enthusiasts due to its sheltered beaches, swimming lagoons and calm waters.
To go on a day trip here, simply contact diving groups like GS-DIVING and Orpheus Dive, and you’ll be able to see coral reefs, and marine life like clownfish, and seahorses. These trips can start from as low as $128, with transport to and from the island.
9. There were 8 cases of piracy in the Straits of Singapore last year
Image credit: PinsDaddy
No, none of them involved Johnny Depp fighting Kraken, but these cases of piracy are no less dangerous. Pirates usually target ships carrying oil cargo and will even resort to abducting crew members just to get their hands on oil. To defend against such attacks, the MPA is working with Malaysia and Indonesia authorities by sharing intelligence and stepping up patrols.
10. You can spot dolphins between St John’s and Lazarus Islands
Image credit: Singapore Wild Marine Mammal Survey
Spotting wild dolphins isn’t something you gotta go to foreign shores for. In fact, if you’re willing to play the waiting game, head to the waters between St John’s and Lazarus islands and you might just spot wild dolphins frolicking right in our very backyard!
Interesting things off Singapore’s mainland
There’s more to Singapore beyond our mainland cause hidden on the 60-plus offshore islands surrounding us are treasure troves of fun activities and facts just waiting to be unlocked. The next time someone tells you that Singapore’s a boring place, shiver their timbers with these little known facts.
Learn more with Channel NewsAsia’s Destiny of a Maritime Nation
Started from the bottom now we’re here but the journey here wasn’t always smooth-sailing. In Channel NewsAsia’s latest documentary, Destiny of a Maritime Nation, learn how closely-linked Singapore’s relationship with the sea is; from the strategic location of our port, piracy threats, and upcoming trends in the maritime industry.
Featuring high-end visual effects and extensive filming from land, sea, and air in 4K, you can catch the documentary on Channel NewsAsia Video On Demand!
This post was brought to you by Channel NewsAsia.