Ship captains listen to him
He is no fortune-teller, but Mr Mohamad Arif can foresee accidents before they actually happen.
Sometimes, there is little he can do but wait.
That is because Mr Mohd Arif is a watcher of the seas - he is a vessel traffic officer (VTO) at the Maritime and Port Authority's (MPA) port operations control centre.
Says the 31-year-old: "Large carriers like cargo vessels have no brakes and can take half an hour to come to a stop. (That is why) accidents between ships may seem like they are happening in slow motion.
"I can issue warnings to the ship over radio, but I cannot be there to personally steer the vessel away from danger."
He is one of around 100 officers, which he describes as an "elite club", who manage maritime traffic in one of the busiest straits in the world.
At any one time, there are around 12 to 14 officers like him keeping an eye out over roughly 1,000 vessels that ply our waterways every day.
Besides providing information about the sea state and the condition of the waters, his job is to ensure safe navigation in Singapore waters.
This means he is responsible for ships "not crashing into each other" by issuing instructions and warnings over radio.
Accidents occur when ships do not heed the warnings, says Mr Mohd Arif.
This can all result from one of his many pet peeves, among which are pleasure boats that park in the middle of shipping lanes and ship captains who do not man the radio.
"I feel angry and agitated when things go wrong. But I still have to be professional and steady to give instructions to the ship during an emergency.
"We are like the maritime version of an air traffic controller," explains Mr Mohd Arif.
Every day, three shifts of VTOs manage a state-of-the-art Vessel Traffic Information System, powerful enough to track and predict the courses of 10,000 vessels at once.
MPA has its own versions of Changi Airport's iconic control tower too - one in Changi Naval Base and another at PSA Vista in Pasir Panjang.
But the technological edge cannot compensate for the human factor, which means that VTOs rely heavily on talking to the ships' crew over radio.
Here is where the idiom "to swear like a sailor" still rings true as the language used by seafarers can be quite colourful, says Mr Mohd Arif.
Different accents and bad pronunciation can also hamper communication but can be funny too.
Laughing, Mr Mohd Arif recounts coming across a tanker with the French name Dong-A Peneus, which can sound vulgar when mispronounced by VTOs or other ships.
Another time, there was an incident when a vessel named Good News ran into engine trouble.
That prompted sarcastic radio messages from other nearby ships that "it is not good news for Good News".
Confesses Mr Mohd Arif: "Yes, we all laugh, but we make sure we aren't holding down the microphone button while doing it."
There is little time for jokes as a VTO's work is usually serious, evident during the recent Batam ferry incident.
He cannot comment on the Batam incident as investigations are still pending, but said he has already seen his fair share of incidents since joining in 2011.
He recalls one when a man fell overboard a couple of years ago.
It was at night, and the man was eventually rescued after Mr Mohd Arif reported the incident to his manager.
While he had to continue managing maritime traffic elsewhere, his thoughts kept returning to the man.
Says Mr Mohd Arif: "It was dark at night, and the water was cold. It made me think that these are human lives and not just dots and numbers on my screen."
SECRETS OF THE TRADE
1. Have ample rest so that you can be fully focused during your watch.
2. Articulate simply so that non-native speakers can understand you too, and learn to use a strong tone to exert authority over radio.
3. When an incident happens, you cannot react emotionally to it because the ship’s crew need someone to guide them.