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On Water: Ocean Heroes

On Water: Ocean Heroes

Nov 1, 2023

On 4 November 2022, 10 enterprising and passionate Southeast Asian marine conservationists gathered at ONE°15 Marina Sentosa Cove Singapore as a community to share about their work and the impact created at the inaugural Blue Water Heroes Awards.

Three among them were crowned winners that evening. They were, in the order of place, Melati Riyanto Wijsen from Indonesia, Thanda Ko Gyi from Myanmar and Dr Louisa Ponnampalam from Malaysia. Aside from a prize money, the winners received support in the form of networking and collaboration opportunities to catalyse their impact.

All 10 finalists were equal contenders and with one goal: To save the oceans, conserve the marine environment, and in turn, the coastal communities it supports. Foremost on their minds was the comforting thought that they were not alone and were part of a community of like-minded and goal-oriented individuals.

The awards are part of Blue Water EduFest, which was conceived with the objective to raise awareness about climate change and advance action. The event aims to bring together conservationists, environmental experts and key stakeholders united in the cause to keep our waters clean and find solutions for a sustainable future.

Blue Water EduFest is back, continuing its mission, which—as shared by Arthur Tay, CEO and Chairman of SUTL Group of Companies—is to garner support and advance the “Blue Water movement” across Southeast Asia through collaborations with governments and industry partners in the region. “By embracing the mindset of ‘leaving it to others’, we can never be a catalyst for change,” he added.

The three-day non-profit event will be held from 2 to 4 November 2023 at ONE°15 Marina Sentosa Cove Singapore. It includes The Ocean Collective Summit—a solutions-based conference—the awards ceremony of Blue Water Heroes 2023, and a beach and marina cleanup.

The Ocean Collective Summit, held in collaboration with International SeaKeepers Society Asia, will be on 2 and 3 November. Acclaimed oceanographer and environmentalist Fabien Cousteau returns as the lead speaker. There will also be talks and panel discussions on blue finance, eco-tourism, and ocean technology and governance. Last year’s winners will present their personal conservation journeys at the summit and highlight how their creative solutions have influenced positive action.


For this edition as well, 10 eco-champions were shortlisted as finalists from the nominations received from around the region. They participated in a Pitch Presentation—a new addition to the selection process this year—on 10 October.

The finalists showcased their organisation’s vision, scalable impact and future plans before a distinguished panel of judges, which included Arthur Tay, as well as other experts, academics and executives in charge of implementing sustainability strategies.

They were Dr Toh Tai Chong, Senior Lecturer, National University of Singapore; Janet Shum, Sustainable Investing Specialist, APAC, Citi Global Wealth; Dr Winston Chow, Associate Professor of Urban Climate, Singapore Management University; Christine Amour-Levar, Founder & CEO of HER Planet Earth and Co-founder, Investors for Climate; Paul Foster, entertainment personality and environmentalist; and Chong Seow Wei, Regional Senior Editor, Tatler Gen.T.

The awards ceremony of Blue Water Heroes will be held as a Gala Dinner event on 3 November. The sustainable dining experience will include a video showcase of the 10 finalists, unveiling how their innovative initiatives that are reshaping the world of marine conservation and driving positive impact. Three of them will be announced as winners of Blue Water Heroes Awards.

Television host, presenter and sustainability advocate Melissa Tan will lead the awards night as the emcee. There will also be a live band, a welcome video by Dr Sylvia Earle, presentations by youth members of the Ocean Geographic Antarctic Climate Expedition 2023, and a piano performance by 12-year-old Hillary O’Sullivan, who was among the 12 Singaporeans selected for the expedition. A live auction featuring exclusive memorabilia and other unique items will complete the evening.

Blue Water EduFest will conclude with a beach and marina cleanup on 4 November.

Further details on Blue Water EduFest, as well as ticketing information can be found at bluewateredufest.com

Blue Water EduFest 2023 is organised by ONE15 Events Management, in partnership with International SeaKeepers Society Asia, Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center and Ocean Geographic.