The Master Attendant was appointed when Singapore became a trading port in 1819. He was responsible for the control of shipping lying in the roadstead and he also acted as advisor on nautical matters to the Governor of the SS.
Over the years, the function of the Master Attendant's Office expanded to include the control of shipping throughout the port of Singapore together with maintenance of signal stations and navigational aids, registry of shipping, the engagement and discharge of seamen and the examination of masters and mates.
At the end of 1964, the designation of Master Attendant was changed to Director of Marine. The functions connected with port operations were transferred to the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA).