Together, Mr Pang Yoke Min and Mr Sunny Mok have more than 50 years of experience in the production and management of vessels.

The duo struck a partnership in 2006 to launch Pacific Radiance - a firm which owns and operates offshore vessels providing services for the oil and gas industry.

Last Monday, Pacific Radiance moved towards a public listing with the lodging of a preliminary prospectus with the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Mr Pang, 63, is often remembered by those in the industry as the formermanaging director of marine group Jaya Holdings, which he co-founded in 1981.

Mr Mok, 48, worked at Jaya Holdings for nine years, from 1993 to 2002,marketing marine vessels.

The two men have known each other from the time they worked together at Jaya Holdings.

"I'd always wanted to be an entrepreneur and strike out on my own," Mr Mok told The Straits Times.

"After the Asian financial crisis and bubble burst, I took advantage of the market opportunity available that year."

But those initial years were challenging as the marine industry is capital intensive by nature, recalled Mr Mok.

He borrowed some money from his friends, and injected both his own and his wife's savings to start and grow Strato Maritime Services.

However, after four years, he realised that he needed more funds and a wider network to take the business forward.

As it turns out, Mr Pang, who had only just left Jaya Holdings in late 2006, was willing to step in to help.

"Sunny came to look for me at my residence to tell me about his plans and how he thought I could contribute to the growth of the business," said Mr Pang.

"As I'd just retired, I still had money left which could be used for investments."

Mr Pang added that his business partner "knows the marine vessel business" and was "one of the best marketing persons in this field".

Conversely, Mr Mok knew that Mr Pang's then 25-year career and reputation in the industry would open more doors to potential business partners and customers.

It seemed like a good match as the strengths of the two men complemented each other.

The proposition was attractive enough to entice Mr Pang to come out of retirement a week after leaving his workplace.

He also pumped $50 million into the business and the duo rebranded the business as Pacific Radiance after the former Strato underwent a restructuring.

Mr Pang has an 85 per cent stake in the business, while Mr Mok and another investor hold the remaining 15 per cent.

A push factor for Mr Pang was the "funny feeling" he had while staying home for a week. "When you're used to a certain routine day-in and day-out for nearly three decades, it was really strange not waking up and heading to work," he said with a laugh.

While the duo could not recall exactly how the name was chosen, they agreed that "Pacific" referred to the ocean which most of their vessels sail on.

"Radiance" symbolised the bright future they had planned for the firm.

In late 2006, Mr Mok had six vessels in his fleet before their collaboration.

Over the past seven years, Pacific Radiance has grown by leaps and bounds and now manages 133 wholly and jointly owned vessels and employs over 1,200 staff.

Figures from its prospectus show that net profit more than doubled from 2010 to US$31.5 million (S$39.2 million) for its financial year ended Dec 31 last year.

Nonetheless, the size of its fleet is smaller than those of the big boys which may operate up to 600 vessels.

But it tries to stay on top of the competition by keeping its vessels young to boost efficiency.

The average age of Pacific Radiance's vessels is three years, way lower than the industry average, said Mr Mok.

Across the board, more than one-third of offshore vessels are 25 years old.

Another edge that Pacific Radiance has is its foothold in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Both markets are protected and require a Malaysian or Indonesian partner to own a majority stake in the special purpose vehicle or tie-up with foreign firms, explained Mr Pang.

Their collective experience and network therefore gave them the competitive advantage as there was trust and rapport with long-time friends and business partners.

Pacific Radiance is expected to launch its initial public offering soon, to raise more funds to expand its operations and fleet size.