Working quietly behind the scenes, naval architects and marine engineers are leading shipping’s drive to clean up its environmental footprint.

These are the unsung heroes designing more efficient ships to meet the International Maritime Organization’s upcoming environmental regulations.

They took time recently to celebrate their achievements at the Joint Branch of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA) and the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST) annual gala dinner and lifetime achievement award ceremony in Singapore on 4 November, marking the branch’s 20th anniversary.

However, both have been present in Singapore for far longer, with IMarEST forming a Singapore section in January 1958. The two organisations joined forces to form a joint branch in 2001.

Today, there are approximately 2,000 members in Singapore, from students to retired members, all of whom are still learning.

The branch provides technical talks, conferences and social events.

As the last annual dinner was in 2019, this year’s event saw three-lifetime achievement awards handed out.

National University of Singapore civil and environmental engineering professor Choo Yang Sang picked up the award for 2020, and Devashish Dutta, naval architect and managing director of Sterling Marine & Offshore Consultancy, won the award for 2021.

The 2022 award was given to Sridev Mookerjea, a chartered engineer who is chairman of the Blossom Group. Mookerjea was also the table sponsor of the event.

During the evening, the new generation of future naval architects and marine engineers — students from Singapore’s institutes of higher learning — were able to mingle with those working in these fields as well as some legendary veterans who have, to paraphrase the UK’s late Prince Philip, done their bit — and more.