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  • 2022 January 29 10:41

    MPA launches regular guided tours to Raffles Lighthouse

    Since 2012, MPA has been offering Raffles Lighthouse guided tours to the public during the annual Singapore Maritime Week each April

    From February 2022, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) will be conducting bi-monthly guided tours to Raffles Lighthouse. This is part of MPA’s outreach efforts to cultivate Singaporeans’ interest in Singapore’s history and heritage as an international maritime hub.  

    Since 2012, MPA has been offering Raffles Lighthouse guided tours to the public during the annual Singapore Maritime Week each April, to develop an appreciation for Singapore’s rich maritime heritage. In view of the strong public interest for these tours, MPA has worked with an operator, Lion Heartlanders, to conduct such guided tours on a regular basis so that members of the public can visit Raffles Lighthouse all year round. The guided tours will be conducted in line with prevailing COVID-19 safe management measures.

    Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Transport and Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations, launched the MPA Raffles Lighthouse public guided tours today. Students enrolled in maritime-related disciplines from institutes of higher learning joined him on the inaugural guided tour to Raffles Lighthouse and participants embarked on a 75-minute audio tour during the ferry ride from Marina South Pier to Pulau Satumu, where Raffles Lighthouse is located. During the ride, participants learnt about various aids to navigation, and viewed various types of vessels, along with the Southern Islands.

    Raffles Lighthouse, named after Sir Stamford Raffles, was built in 1855 and plays an important role even today, operating as a beacon of safe coastal navigation and acting as a critical point of reference for ships, as the location of the lighthouse marks the southernmost point of Singapore along the busy Singapore Strait where ships need to make a turn. Visitors to Raffles Lighthouse will have an opportunity to climb to the top of the lighthouse for a bird’s eye view of the island and its surroundings.

    “The Raffles Lighthouse is an important part of Singapore’s maritime heritage. It symbolises the strong foundation upon which our maritime journey is built. The maritime industry of the future will be defined by two key trends - digitalisation and decarbonisation. Through these tours, I hope Singaporeans will get to appreciate Singapore's role as a global hub port and international maritime centre. More importantly, I hope it would inspire Singaporeans, especially our younger generation, to take up opportunities in the maritime industry, and help chart the next phase of our maritime sector,” said Mr Iswaran.

    From today, members of the public can purchase tickets from the MPA website[1]. The tours will be held every second and fourth Saturday of each month. Participants have to be at least 18 years old to participate in the guided tour.

    Factsheet on Raffles Lighthouse
    A lighthouse is a tower, building, or structure designed to emit light from a system of lamps and lenses. Lighthouses are generally situated on islands or shoals located at the approaches to ports and harbours. They serve as visual aids to navigation as well as warnings to mariners of dangers such as rocks and reefs. Today, the team of eight lighthouse keepers at the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore manages five operating lighthouses, namely – Horsburgh, Raffles, Bedok, Pulau Pisang, and Sultan Shoal lighthouses.

    Raffles Lighthouse
    Built in 1855, Raffles Lighthouse gives off three white flashes every 20 seconds, the light intensity has a nominal range visible up to 20 nautical miles (37 km). Every lighthouse has a distinct flash characters from the surrounding aids to navigation, that allow mariners to identify which lighthouse they are seeing.

    It stands on Pulau Satumu, a small island 23 kilometres south-west of the mainland. Origin of the island’s name could have been derived from the Malay language with “sa” referring to satu (one) and “tumu” referring to the large mangrove tree (Bruguiera confugata). The lighthouse was named after the founder of Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles. It commenced operations in 1855 and was manned by seven lighthouse keepers to operate its wick burner using kerosene. It is Singapore’s second oldest lighthouse.
    Since 1905, the light source was from a pressurised vapour kerosene mantle burner. In 1968, it was replaced by electrically operated revolving optic. Light source was then from an incandescent bulb, power supply came from a generator

    In 1988, a rotating lantern, mounted on a gearless revolving pedestal with solar-powered lamps, was installed. In 2014, the rotating lantern was upgraded to a LED light source. This increased its reliability and allowed for more energy saving through the design of the solar power system. Today, two lighthouse keepers are on duty at any given time to take care of the lighthouse’s operations and maintenance.

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