Singapore tightening marine sector Covid-19 checks after two recent cases

Singapore is tightening the testing regime for all shore-based personnel going onboard ships, following two recent cases of Covid-19 infection on a marine surveyor and a harbour pilot.

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The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said that preliminary investigations reveal that the marine surveyor had consumed food provided by or with the crew onboard the ships, which was against a precautionary measure.

Singapore government agencies including MPA, the Ministry of Health, Enterprise Singapore and Economic Development Board (EDB) are investigating if there had been any breach of Covid-19 safe management measures.

The marine surveyor is from Lloyd’s Register (LR), and the classification society has suspended all its shipboard survey and audit activities. LR said it will be testing all its marine surveyors for Covid-19.

“In light of the two recent cases, MPA will tighten the testing regime for all shore-based personnel going onboard ships. First, all shore-based personnel going onboard ships will need to take a Covid-19 PCR test within the next seven days, between 2 and 8 January 2021, to give assurance that they are clear of Covid-19. This will cover more than 20,000 personnel,” the Singapore government agencies said in a joint statement.

“Second, they will thereafter be subject to a tighter RRT regime; they will be tested every seven days instead of 14 days previously. Those who do not adhere to the RRT regime will not be allowed to board ships to work.”

In addition, 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, had recently worked on.

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

“MPA, EDB and relevant agencies will be stepping up checks to ensure compliance of Covid-19 safe management measures by companies and individuals. Individuals and companies which are found to have violated these measures will be taken to task. Agencies will also review the need to enhance personal protective equipment and infection control measures in the sector,” the joint statement said.

“The port of Singapore plays a critical role in supporting Singapore’s economy. Shore-based personnel help keep our supply chains flowing and ensure essential goods reach Singapore. Given the cross-border nature of the industry, all personnel working in our port must continue to stay vigilant to safeguard their and their families’ health and safety.”

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