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News / Business/ Singapore: MPA introduces enhanced precautions for shore personnel and crew

Singapore: MPA introduces enhanced precautions for shore personnel and crew

24 Mar 2020
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The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore on Monday (23 March) issued guidelines and enhanced safety precautions for shore personnel and visiting crew carry out duties safely in view of the COVID-19 pandemic: 

ADVISORY FOR SHORE PERSONNEL AND SHIP CREW VISITING OR WORKING ONBOARD VESSELS ALONGSIDE WHARVES, IN SHIPYARDS AND AT ANCHORAGES 

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation is being monitored closely, and Singapore continues to take a calibrated and risk-based approach in determining the appropriate precautions and measures. From 23 Mar 2359H, crew and passengers on short term visits will not be allowed to disembark in Singapore for the time being. Crew change in Singapore is also disallowed for the time being. In addition, the port health office (PHO) requires all arriving vessels to submit the Maritime Declaration of Health (MDH) Form. Precautionary Measures for Vessels 

MPA has taken the following enhanced measures for vessels arriving Singapore:

  • All crew members are advised to take their temperature twice daily; 
  • All crew members are advised to maintain good hygiene in accommodation areas by cleaning frequently touched surfaces (e.g. desks, door handles, switches, telephones, etc). 
  • Shipmasters should isolate unwell crew and passengers.
  • Shipmasters are required to report unwell crew/passengers to MPA and NEA’s Port Health Office (PHO), and make the necessary arrangements to seek medical attention. 
  • Shipmasters should follow the National Environment Agency’s (NEA) guidance for disinfecting common areas and rooms. 

All suspected cases of COVID-19 crew/passengers will be assessed and/or tested for COVID-19. If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 on board any vessel, PHO will quarantine the vessel at a designated anchorage or wharf, and in consultation with MOH provide the quarantine requirements for the crew and passengers. During the quarantine period, operations will not be allowed until the quarantine is lifted. If there is a need for any critical operation, PHO’s approval will be required and all persons working onboard will be required to don the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which may include surgical gowns, masks and gloves. 

If there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on board vessels, there is no restriction on operations. Precautionary Measures for Marine Service Providers 

Notwithstanding the above measures and in consultation with Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH), marine service providers should consider the following additional precautionary measures when there is a need for interaction between the shore personnel and ship crew when conducting operations: 

  • Carry out daily temperature checks at least twice a day, this is applicable for both ship crew and shore personnel. 
  • Do not work if unwell. Wear a mask if having respiratory symptoms such as a cough or runny nose, avoid close contact with others, and seek medical help early. 
  • Observe good personal hygiene and avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. 
  • Practice frequent hand washing with soap. 
  • Practice respiratory hygiene (cover coughs and sneezes with flexed elbow or tissue, discard tissue immediately into a closed bin and wash hands). 
  • Avoid shaking hands and adopt other non-contact greeting methods. 
  • Reduce ship-shore activities by reducing ship-shore exchanges, internal and external audits, non-essential maintenance and other nonessential activities. 
  • Strengthen gangway or ladder control by implementing stricter ISPS procedures. This includes enhancing the stairway control, checking the credentials of all personnel boarding the ship, and checking their temperatures and logging it. If any shore personnel are suspected to have flu-like symptoms, access should be denied. Maintain a log of movements of all persons for the purposes of contact tracing. 
  • Minimise unnecessary interactions between the ship crew and shore personnel, and refrain from prolonged interactions in close proximity. Unnecessary boarding visits should be prohibited (eg. limit unnecessary entry of agents, tally, foremen, suppliers and other foreign personnel into the crew living area to reduce ship-shore exchanges). 
  • Only essential ship crew and shore personnel to be in the same work area if necessary, which has to be well ventilated at all times. Keep a distance of at least 1 metre between persons in group interactions, and keep the group small (not more than 10 persons). 
  • Conduct briefings and completion of paperwork through electronic means as far as possible. 
  • Use the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which may include surgical gowns, masks and gloves, if it is assessed that there is an imminent risk of being in contact with a person infected with COVID-19.

The above list of precautionary measures are not exhaustive, and companies/individuals may wish to take other reasonable precautionary measures.

Owners/managers/supervisors of marine services companies are to take note of all available health advisories and bring it to the attention of your organisation and employees. While we note that companies may wish to implement additional preventive measures in line with their respective company policies, they must ensure that any such measures implemented have to be in compliance with prevailing standards/procedures applicable in the Port of Singapore. 

We thank all stakeholders for the continuous efforts in ensuring that Singapore’s port operations remain un-interrupted and efficient. We also urge all to remain vigilant, resolute and united in tackling the COVID-19 situation.

The full circular from the MPA is available here .


Photo credit:
JeyHan Lau
Published: 24 March, 2020

 

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