Photo: Illustration. Image Courtesy: MPA Singapore/Facebook

Singapore: Tighter measures for shore-based maritime workers after 2 positive COVID-19 cases

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has decided to tighten the testing regime for all shore-based personnel going onboard vessels.

The move comes after a marine surveyor and a harbor pilot tested positive for COVID-19 on 30 and 31 December 2020, respectively.

MPA Singapore
Illustration. Image Courtesy: MPA Singapore/Facebook

As informed, all shore-based personnel going onboard ships will need to take a COVID-19 PCR test within the next few days until 8 January 2021, to give assurance that they are clear of COVID-19. This will cover more than 20,000 personnel.

What is more, shore-based personnel will thereafter be subject to a tighter RRT regime — they will be tested every seven days instead of fourteen days previously. Those who do not adhere to the RRT regime will not be allowed to board ships to work, according to MPA.

In addition, as announced by Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH), there will be a special testing operation to test all workers who had boarded the ships that the marine surveyor and harbour pilot, who tested positive for COVID-19 infection, had recently worked on.

In light of the abovementioned incident, local agencies are investigating if there had been any breach of COVID-19 safe management measures. Preliminary investigations revealed that the marine surveyor, like the marine service engineer who tested positive for COVID-19 infection earlier on 26 November 2020, consumed food provided by or with the crew onboard the ships, which was against a precautionary measure.

MPA, MOH and Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) said they “will not hesitate” to take firm actions against the errant companies and individuals. For the latest case involving the marine surveyor, Lloyd’s Register Singapore Pte Ltd has suspended all its shipboard survey and audit activities. Lloyd’s Register will be testing all its marine surveyors for COVID-19. Further actions may be taken against the companies and individuals after investigations have been completed.

MPA also requires all shore-based personnel to give the authority an advance notice before they board ships to carry out works or provide services.

For shipyards, EDB introduced mandatory precautionary measures on 21 December 2020. Shipyards should only issue shipyard acceptance letters to ships seeking repairs when a ship is compliant with these measures. Moreover, shipyards should only allow shore-based personnel to board a ship for work when all crew members have been tested negative for COVID-19 infection on arrival at the shipyard.