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MPA provides response and clarification over Covid-19 measures for bunkering and surveying sectors

28 Jan 2021

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) on Wednesday (28 January) provided its response and clarification towards the latest Covid-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) measures introduced at Singapore port.

Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times earlier reported MPA issuing several measures, including Port Marine Circular (PMC No. 04), to prevent the further spread of Covid-19 within the shipping community in Singapore.

Several sources within the Singapore marine fuels and surveying sectors were keen to support the initiatives; however, they seemed to believe the latest changes could adversely affect waterfront operations and sought clarification.

To date, Manifold Times has reached out to the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) and MPA for comment. Concerns from the industry have been addressed by Caroline Yang, President of SSA, in an earlier response (here).

An official statement and clarification from MPA regarding the latest Covid-19 measures has now been provided for members of Singapore’s surveying and bunkering sectors below:

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has been working closely with various industry stakeholders to introduce measures to mitigate the importation risk of COVID-19 infection so as to minimise risks to public health within Singapore and ensure a safe working environment for the shipping and harbour craft community. With the recent increase in COVID-19 community cases, MPA has rolled out measures as outlined in PMC No. 4 of 2021 to strengthen safeguards to the community. Since the promulgation of the enhanced measures on 15 January 2021, MPA has organised industry sessions to keep stakeholders updated on the new measures.

It is important that shore-based personnel such as bunker surveyors adhere strictly to the requirements as prescribed in PMC No. 04 of 2021. Bunker surveyors must not move from receiving vessels to bunker tankers so as to ensure minimal interaction. There are alternative means including the use of photographic evidence during bunkering operations for bunker surveyors to conduct checks and inspections remotely so as to comply with the requirements of SS 648 without boarding bunker tankers.

MPA would also wish to clarify that shore-based personnel who have carried out work onboard an ocean-going vessel can use launch craft as a means of transportation to other ocean-going vessels for work even within the seven days of performing such work onboard the said ocean-going vessel.  They should not within seven days of performing the work onboard an ocean-going vessel carry out work onboard a harbour craft or pleasure craft. 

With regard to the licence extension of crew, the International Maritime Organization had issued a Circular Letter No.4204/Add.5/Rev.1 on 2 April 2020 to encourage Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW) certificates-issuing administrations to adopt a pragmatic and practical approach to the extension of certificates, including medical certificates and endorsements, due to the COVID-19 outbreak. MPA has worked with the industry to consent to the necessary extension requests. MPA will monitor the situation to ensure that operations can continue to carry on with minimal disruptions.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve and MPA is working closely with other agencies to monitor the situation, both globally and in Singapore. MPA will continue to engage industry stakeholders regularly and work with them to review COVID-19 measures in ensuring their suitability and relevance to operations in the maritime industry, including the bunkering sector.

Related: Singapore: MPA enhances measures to protect shore-based personnel against Covid-19
Related: Singapore: Latest Covid-19 measures cause confusion, disruption for bunkering and surveying sectors
Related: Singapore Shipping Association provides clarity on Covid-19 measures for bunkering and surveying sectors


Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 28 January, 2021

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