December 09, 2018

Singaporean Lee Kim Chai, better known as KC Lee, earned an accounting qualification in London before working for Caltex and Salvage Engineers. Salvage Engineers found in KC Lee an energetic, dependable and quick student helping the company to generate profits. KC Lee started its first personal venture with a single wooden tugboat, then entered the barge construction business. In June 1960 he set up Far East Shipbuilding Industries on a 3.5 acre plot in Jurong, Singapore. In 1968 Keppel Shipyard was incorporated and two years later an agreement with Levingston shipbuilding (FELS) was signed. The first jack up, JW Mc Lean was delivered the same year and an important milestone was achieved in 1974 with the delivery of the first semi-submersible, Penrod 74. Keppel Offshore & Marine is today one of the world’s largest offshore and marine groups with a strong network of 20 yards worldwide. Kc Lee is remembered for his “Can Do” attitude that grew stronger with every challenge met. He had the foresight to see Singapore as a base for the offshore industry. KC Lee founder of Keppel FELS died in February 1997.  (Source: Colin Cheong, Times Editions – Image: The construction of Penrod 74 at Keppel Shipyard, Singapore, in 1973)