Photo: Illustration; Image courtesy: MPA Singapore

Singapore quarantines bunker tanker after COVID-19 outbreak

Singapore has put the bunker tanker New Ocean 6, operated by Palmstone Tankers & Trdg Pte Ltd, under quarantine and banned it from operating until further notice, Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore said.

The move is being made after nine crew members on board the bunker tanker tested positive for COVID-19 on December 30, 2020.

All 13 remaining crew members were quarantined from December 31. 

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has strict procedures on all crew members arriving from overseas to work onboard harbourcraft.

They have to go through 14 days of quarantine and must be tested negative for COVID-19 infection at the start and end of their quarantine period in their home country.

Upon arrival in Singapore, they are tested again and need to self-isolate in a room until their test results are known before embarking on the harbourcraft.

The MPA Singapore said that the outbreak started after an Indonesian crew member tested positive for COVID-19 infection on December 30, after arriving in Singapore on December 17.

As informed, the crew member tested negative on 1, 16, and 17 December. He started work on NewOcean 6 after his test result on 17 December returned negative for COVID-19.

“Seven other Indonesian crew members and a Singaporean crew member were reported by the Ministry of Health to have tested positive for COVID-19 infection on 3 January, 4 January, and 5 January 2021. The foreign crew members onboard the bunker tanker did not disembark prior to being tested positive. The Singapore crew member is a cargo officer who certifies bunker delivery onboard the vessel,” MPA Singapore informed.

The port authority added that Palmstone Tankers & Trdg Pte Ltd will need to review all its procedures before it is allowed to resume operations.

MPA reminds owners and operators of harbourcraft to implement and comply with safe management measures aboard vessels,” MPA Singapore said.