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Singapore Ponders Y2K Situation

April 18, 1999

SINGAPORE (AP) _ Singapore’s seaport, one of the world’s busiest, is prepared for a number of nightmare scenarios that could arise from the Year 2000 computer bug on Jan. 1, 2000, a news report said Sunday.

One fear was that the failure of computerized steering systems in the 1,000 ships plying Singapore waters at any given time could lead to collisions, The Straits Times newspaper said. Another was that the port’s high-tech cranes _ which handle more than 10 million cargo containers a year _ could grind to a halt.

But Singapore has been ready to fend off such catastrophes since the beginning of this year, said officials from the Maritime and Port Authority, or MPA.

Motor launches with expert captains will be ready to race out to ships with Y2K system problems, and tugboats will stand by to guide the vessels, The Straits Times said.

Computer systems for running the port itself have been rigorously tested, and programs that might have caused Y2K problems have been changed.

``Anything that wasn’t up to scratch was either upgraded or replaced,″ Goh Kwong Heng, assistant director of MPA’s information technology division, told the newspaper.

The government in highly modernized Singapore has been meticulously preparing the island republic’s utilities, airport, financial systems and other vital areas to avoid potential Y2K problems.

There are fears around the world that old computer programming, which doesn’t distinguish between the years 1900 and 2000, could cause disastrous shutdowns on the first day of the new year.

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