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Eurofins’ new COVID-19 testing service may solve the maritime and bunkering sector stalemate

11 Jun 2020

A new Coronavirus disease (COVID 19) detection service introduced by Eurofins Singapore may offer a solution to fix the current stalemate of restricted crew movement between bunker tankers and receiving vessels at Singapore port, it says.

The clinical diagnostics, forensic, pharmaceutical, food and environmental laboratory testing services provider recently launched its COVID 19 environmental surface testing service to various land-based sectors in the republic.

“Our solution is currently used by clients, such as shipyards and manufacturing facilities, to meet regulatory requirements before resuming operations,” said Bryan Quek, Assistant General Manager at Eurofins Mechem.

“We are now looking to form partnerships, specifically with Singapore bunker surveyors, to help expand the service to benefit the republic’s maritime sector.”

Quek noted Singapore bunker surveyors to be particularly suitable for collaboration due to the proactive, integrity and professional qualities already required by the nature of their work on the maritime frontline.

These qualities were shown by issues raised where a call for direction on the roles and responsibilities of bunker surveyors, bunker tanker crew and cargo officers during bunker deliveries amidst COVID-19 was performed.

Some bunker suppliers were not permitting bunker surveyors and representatives of their shipowner clients to board the bunker tanker, and vice versa, due to social distancing and corporate responsibility.

“The reality is all parties are unsure if others are affected by COVID 19 and this has caused tension in not only the bunker supply chain but for maritime operations in general as well. Our service fixes this issue precisely by providing a piece of mind through science and technology,” states Quek.

“The plan is to provide our partnered bunker surveyors with swabs [and relevant items] and train them in environmental surface testing.

“Shipowners will be able to know if there are traces of COVID 19 on board their vessel within 24 hours of the swab samples reaching our local lab, and subsequently share results with not only their own crew but business partners to know the ships are safe as well before bunkering operations take place.

“The same can be done by bunker tanker operators to validate and certify their assets and staff are safe as a value added service to shipowner clients.

“Bunker surveyors not only stand to benefit commercially from this service, but also strengthen their relationship with shipowner clients while potentially making some new ones. It is a win-win situation for all parties involved, while serving the greater good.

“It could be revolutionary for the entire bunkering and shipping sector if the new COVID 19 environmental surface testing service can be successfully transferred to the maritime industry.

“This could provide the kick start the shipping sector needs to lessen disruption and return to normalcy. Eurofins, by the way, is the only agency in Singapore uniquely positioned to offer this service.”

Interested collaborators may reach Quek at the following:

Bryan Quek
Assistant General Manager | Eurofins Mechem
Mobile: (65) 8876 4350 | Direct: (65) 6453 6038
Email: BryanQuek@eurofins.com

Photo credit: Manifold Times

Published: 11 June, 2020

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