Singapore approves over 4,000 crew change cases during coronavirus
More than 4,000 cases of crew sing-on and signoff have been approved by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) for over 300 companies since 27 March 2020.
To date, the cases involved some 500 ships that include tankers, bulk carriers, containerships and offshore vessels, according to MPA.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Singapore continues to facilitate the disembarkation of seafarers on medical grounds, for compassionate reasons and for contracts which cannot be further extended. MPA also continues to facilitate medical treatment of seafarers who require emergency attention.
On 12 June, MPA, together with other agencies as well as shipping companies, facilitated a second chartered flight for crew change. 54 crew members onboard a flight from Mumbai, India will join six ships at the Port of Singapore. 87 crew members will take the same flight back to Mumbai. As explained, the use of such chartered flights offers a direct passage to facilitate crew changes in a safe andefficient manner during this period.
Two more chartered flights for crew change are scheduled to take place this week.
“Executive Ship Management (ESM) is indeed happy to initiate the project taking home Indian seafarers from Singapore and share the flight in the best possible way to facilitate crew change in Singapore by any other ship manager,” B.S. Teeka, CEO of the Executive Group of companies of which ESM is a member, said.
“There is a global need for large numbers of crew changes to take place. We have seen a sharp increase in the daily crew change applications since our last Port Marine Circular (PMC). As a major port state, Singapore has a responsibility to facilitate crew change in a safe manner for both the country and the ships, given the ongoing pandemic,” Quah Ley Hoon, MPA’s Chief Executive, commented.
“We understand that shipping companies face immense challenges operating in this pandemic. MPA will continue to work with the industry and unions on creative solutions, one of which is a floating holding facility for crew; we are finalising the details.”
“As a key maritime stakeholder, the Singapore Shipping Association took the initiative to form and lead the Singapore Crew Change Workgroup (SGCCWG) to co-develop the Singapore Crew Change Guidebook (SCCG). The process was challenging as the protocols had to take into consideration both regulatory requirements and the practical demands by the shipping industry,” Michael Phoon, Executive Director, Singapore Shipping Association, said.
“We are very pleased that the established procedures, which provide clarity to the shipping industry on crew change, have been accepted by MPA and the industry. We certainly hope the accomplishment by SGCCWG and the SCCG protocols can serve as a model for the international maritime industry as we navigate the future together.”