Singapore eases crew change rules, eyes ‘halfway house’ concept

Documents from the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore seen by Splash today show the key Southeast Asian shipping hub is easing its crew change stance.

Under the latest enhancement MPA has made to its crew change policy, for signing-on crew, shipping companies are requested to inform MPA of crew change plans 14 days in advance and confirm that the crew has been in quarantine for at least 14 days prior to entering Singapore with a negative Covid-19 test result. The crew also need a fit-to-travel medical certificate, issued by a doctor not more than 24 hours prior to departing the crew’s home country .

For signing-off crew, seafarers will be required to have a fit-to-travel medical certificate and prove he/she has not gone ashore for the last 14 days and remains well.

In order to minimise the risk, all the crew need to be transferred directly between the vessel and the point of arrival/departure.

Additionally, MPA is also in the process of exploring a so-called halfway house concept, mostly likely offshore, to accommodate sign-on crew in Singapore while waiting for their vessels to arrive. Japanese owners have been looking at a similar concept, using the offshore airport near Osaka in a similar way.

Last week, employers and seafarer trade unions agreed one final month’s extension before crews working beyond their stipulated contracts must be repatriated, meaning governments have until June 15 to resolve the crew change issues that has seen around 150,000 seafarers waiting beyond their contracts to get home due to strict travel restrictions.

Jason Jiang

Jason is one of the most prolific writers on the diverse China shipping & logistics industry and his access to the major maritime players with business in China has proved an invaluable source of exclusives. Having been working at Asia Shipping Media since inception, Jason is the chief correspondent of Splash and associate editor of Maritime CEO magazine. Previously he had written for a host of titles including Supply Chain Asia, Cargo Facts and Air Cargo Week.


  1. Hi, may i know if there is an official circular issued by MPA on this halfway house requirements?

  2. Hi. So until 15june there Will be no allowed crew changes in The port of Singapore??

  3. Hello, is there any public source to this information as of yet? If no, when can it be expected? Thanks 🙂

  4. We have seen official info … and are just waiting for the authorities to publish it

  5. So MPA is issuing an official letter regarding that?
    They have time until 15th of June to do so. Also airlines must bring a lot of connections back to make it happened.

    1. The local airport will be opening to allow transit passengers. That will work well with those seeking to perform crew changes

  6. Thanks for a prompt reply, Mr Chambers.
    Craving to see it as well. Cheers mate.

  7. You will see how Singapore Port change crew if sailors take control of the ship and, drop anchor in middle of channel.

    1. Ah, there are many vessels that drop their anchors within the TSS, however, PCG will only take action against those who contravene the rules within Singapore port limits.

  8. We need official thing about it that is put into force, not just news that change nothing!

    And by the way what is halfway house game?!

  9. Halfway houses have several meanings but in this case, it would mean a place for seafarers to stay while waiting for crew change, still ensuring that they are safe from the contagion that plague the local populace.

    Sam did said that it is an official document and just have to wait for MPA to finalize and publish it.

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