Simon Bennett started his career at sea in 1974 at age 17 as a Navigating Officer Cadet with the Union Castle Line/Clan Line. After a 3-year sabbatical from 1978 to 1981 to take an honours degree at UEA in Norwich, UK, where he read Environmental Science (majoring in Meteorology and Oceanography and minoring in Marine and Coastal Management/Environmental Hazards) he resumed his seagoing career. Around 37.84 years ago, he joined Swire Pacific Offshore (SPO), which provides marine support services to the global offshore oil and gas exploration and production industry.
Following several voyages as Master, he came ashore in 1991, working as HSE and Country Manager in Brunei, HSE Manager with Swire Production Testers working with their rig-based Early Production Systems for Maersk in Qatar and Shell in Iran and Thailand, and Marketing Manager in Dubai, before he moved to his last but one job as General Director operating three of SPO’s new icebreaking Platform Supply Vessels in the Russian Far East.
Since returning to the warmth of Singapore again fourteen ago, he now wears the hat of GM for Sustainable Development for both SPO – with 50 OSVs operating globally, and since late 2010 also for Swire Shipping Pte Ltd., the Swire group’s privately owned deep-sea company – with 40 liner / breakbulk ships trading in Pacific Ocean, and Swire Bulk Pte Ltd. with 150 mainly Handymax and Aframax bulkers trading in the Atlantic and Pacific basins. All three shipping companies have their Operational Headquarters in Singapore.
SPO has been seeking to be carbon neutral since 2011, being the project proponent for a REDD+ (avoided deforestation) carbon credit scheme in the 5,000ha dry quebracho forest in Paraguay, the land title for which it donated to a Paraguayan NGO, and to the indigenous Indians who live in the forest.
Simon is on the Board of Trustees of the Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI), for which The China Navigation Company (now swire Shipping Pte Ltd) was both the founder member in Asia, a member of the founding steering group of the Ship Recycling Transparency Initiative (SRTI) and has been on the SMU Maritime Business Operations Track Advisory Council for the past 5 years. Simon gives occasional guest lectures on Sustainability in Shipping at Singapore Institutes of Higher Education: SMU, RMIT and SIT, and for the MPA at their MPA Academy, and is currently contributing to a book on ‘Securing Water, Energy and Food in the Pacific’ on behalf of the University of New South Wales in Sydney and UNESCO
He was a Director of the Singapore Environment Council for the four years up to the end of Jun 2020 and is a Director of the World Ocean Council
Simon also sits on the British Chamber of Commerce (Singapore) Committees for their a) Sustainability and Responsibility, b) Transport and Logistics and c) Diversity and Inclusion business groups.