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.