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LP 25/2020 COVID-19 Prevention Measures by Singapore MPA

2020-02-28

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) issued three circulars in a row on February 26 for prevention of the spread of COVID-19 in the country. Also, MPA as a flag state administration has realized challenges confronting shipowners and operators of Singapore-registered ships due to the coronavirus outbreak. Hopefully with fact-oriented attitudes and effective approaches, MPA can help them through.

Port Marine Circular No.6 of 2020, Maritime Declaration of Health (MDH)

This circular supersedes Port Marine Circular 03 of 2020 dated 01 Feb 2020 and brings to the attention of the National Environment Agency’s (Port Health Office) requirements to submit the Maritime Declaration of Health to the Port Health Office. These requirements are applicable for:

a) all arriving vessels that have called at ports in China in the past 14 days; OR

b) all arriving vessels with crew/passengers who have travelled to mainland China in the past 14 days; OR

c) all arriving passenger ships (with the exception of ferries operated by MPA-licensed regional ferry service operators); OR

d) all arriving vessels with crew/passengers who have travelled to Daegu city or Cheongdo county of Republic of Korea within the last 14 days.

This circular will come into effect from 26 February 2020, 2359h. All above mentioned vessels, with or without sick persons on board, are required to submit the MDH along with Crew List/Passenger List, current copy of Ship Sanitation Certificates and Last 10 ports of call list to the National Environment Agency’s (Port Health Office) 24 hours before arrival at Singapore Port.

Fax: 62228543, Email: Port_Health_CRO@nea.gov.sg  isps@mpa.gov.sg

The master of the ship is recommended to implement the following additional precautionary measures:

1)      Educate crew/passengers of the symptoms of COVID-2019, which include fever, runny nose, cough and shortness of breath.

2)      Carry out daily temperature checks for all crew/passengers at least twice a day.

3)      Isolate unwell crew/passengers when his/her temperature is above 38 degree Celsius. The unwell crew should also wear a mask.

4)      Disinfect common areas and rooms in the vessel before arrival in Singapore.

Port Marine Circular No.7 of 2020, Extension of Precautionary Measures to Minimise Risk of Community Spread of COVID-19 in Singapore

This circular supersedes Port Marine Circular No.02 of 2020. Since 24 January 2020, MPA has implemented temperature screening at all sea checkpoints, including ferry and cruise terminals, PSA terminals and Jurong Port, for inbound travelers. It has also put up health advisories at the sea checkpoints to inform travelers and ship crew on the precautionary measures to take when travelling, as well as to remain vigilant and adopt good hygiene practices. Through Circular No.7, it has reiterated advice for vessels, shipping community and port terminal operators.

For inbound travelers:

1)      From 1 February 2020, 2359h, all new visitors with recent travel history to mainland China within the last 14 days will not be allowed entry into Singapore, or to transit through Singapore.

2)      In the same context, with immediate effect, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) will suspend the issuance of all forms of new visas to those with PRC passports. It will also suspend Singapore’s status as visa-free transit facility for those with PRC passports.

3)      Previously issued short-term and multiple-visit visas for those with PRC passports will also be suspended. During the period of suspension, they will not be allowed entry into Singapore.

4)      From 26 February 2020, 2359h, all new visitors with recent travel history to Daegu and Cheongdo within the last 14 days will not be allowed entry into Singapore, or to transit through Singapore.

For arriving vessels:

MPA advise ships and shipping companies to adhere to the health advisory in the above Circular No.6.

1)      Ships can continue to berth at terminals to carry out operations.

2)      The four types of vessels (as described in Circular No.6) are required to submit MDH and other documents prior to arrival.

3)      Masters should monitor the health of crew/passengers closely and practice the disinfection protocols before arrival.

4)      Should any of the crew/passengers are unwell, report the incident to the Marine Safety Control Center at 6325 2488/2489.

For shore personnel:

Shore personnel including terminal operators, agents and any service providers who are required to board ships alongside wharves or at the anchorages should take the following precautions.

1)      Avoid contact with live animals including poultry and birds.

2)      Avoid consumption of raw and undercooked meat.

3)      Avoid crowded places and close contact with people who are unwell or showing symptoms of illness.

4)      Observe good personal hygiene and practise frequent hand washing with soap. Wear a mask if you have respiratory symptoms such as a cough or runny nose. Cover one’s mouth with tissue paper when coughing or sneezing and dispose the soiled tissue paper in the rubbish bin immediately.

5)      Seek medical attention promptly if you are feeling unwell.

6)      Minimise unnecessary interactions with the ship’s crew.

7)      Shore personnel exhibiting symptoms of fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, and shortness of breath, should not be sent on board ships.

8)      Before boarding any ship, shore personnel should check with the ship master or duty officer if there are any procedures and/or guidelines to be observed and adhere to them when on board the ship.

For Singapore-registered vessels:

1)      MPA urges ship owners and operators of Singapore-registered vessels to take effective precautions and keep up good hygiene on board ships.

2)      Shipowners and managers should monitor the health of their crew closely and seek immediate medical attention if the crew are experiencing respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, runny nose, shortness of breath) or feel feverish.

3)      Shipowners and masters are to report all occurrences to MPA using the report form found in MPA Shipping Circular No.4 of 2013.

Port Marine Circular No.7 of 2020, Impact of COVID-19 Outbreak on Singapore-registered Ships

MPA understands that in view of the ongoing COVID-19 situation, owners and managers of Singapore-registered ships (SRS) are facing challenges in meeting various statutory requirements under the Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) Act (the MLC Act), the Merchant Shipping Act and the subsidiary legislations. These challenges may include the timely repatriation of seafarers onboard SRS at the end of the period in the seafarer’s employment agreement (SEA), deployment of seafarers who are not able to obtain revalidation from training institutes for their expiring certifications, inability to obtain shipyard dry-docking services, inability to carry out mandatory periodical surveys, audits and inspections in time, etc. MPA desires to provide instructions for shipowners and managers through a non-exhaustive list of scenarios to obtain MPA’s favourable consideration and expedited approval.

EXTENSION OF SEA SERVICE BEYOND CONTRACT PERIOD

SRS owners and managers unable to repatriate seafarers who have completed the employment duration as stipulated in the seafarers’ SEA in accordance with Section 23 of the MLC Act may submit a request to MPA for extension of the sea service period. Documents to be submitted as follows:

a)      Employment details of the affected seafarers

b)      Confirmation of consent by the affected seafarers

The extension of contractual period of the seafarers should be reflected on the corresponding SEA of the affected seafarers. Ship owners and managers should also ensure that the notification of crew list to MPA, in accordance with Section 15 of the MLC Act, is carried out.

EXTENSION OF SEA SERVICE PERIOD BEYOND QUALIFICATION REVALIDATION DEADLINE

a)        Consideration will be given to allow seafarers who hold foreign issued Certificates of Competencies (COC) to continue serving onboard SRS, if they are unable to revalidate their COC before the expiry date due to the COVID-19 outbreak. SRS owners and managers may submit such request in-writing to MPA, accompanied with a confirmation of continued validity from the issuing authority of the seafarer’s COC. MPA will issue a flag administration confirmation letter for the seafarer to continue serving onboard SRS. No fees will be charged for this endorsement.

b)        For Singapore COC holders, MPA will issue a letter to extend validity of the COC of the holders who may not be able to disembark due to the captioned grounds, similarly without fees.

EXTENSION OF MANDATORY SURVEYS, AUDITS AND EXPIRY OF STATUTORY CERTIFICATES

a)      Consideration will also be given to the extension of mandatory statutory surveys, inspections or audits. Application for extension of surveys/inspections/audits or validity of statutory certificates may be submitted to MPA via email shipping@mpa.gov.sg, accompanied by recommendation from the recognised organisation (RO) that issued the relevant certificate on behalf of MPA.

b)      MPA advises SRS owners and managers to submit such application before the due date of the surveys/audits or expiry date of the statutory certificate in order to avoid Port State Control issues.

c)      SRS owners and managers may contact MPA Duty Officers during after-office-hours for urgent matters at the 24/7 hotline, +65 62255777.

For further consultation, please contact your manager at the Club.

 

 

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