Firm action to be taken against companies found to have breached the safety regulations resulting in the infections
The recent cases involving a marine surveyor and a harbour pilot tested positive for COVID-19 have sent Maritime Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Ministry of Health (MOH) on red alert. Both were confirmed to have caught the virus on 30 and 31 December 2020 respectively.
Investigations are underway to determine the cause of the infection, though initial checks revealed both consumed food provided by or for the crew onboard the vessels. This is against the precautionary measures for marine services. Employers of both individuals have been ordered to suspend onboard personnel deployment till investigations finalise. The rest of the personnel will also be sent for COVID-19 swabs.
Tightened testing regulations
On account of the recent infections, MPA toughened the testing regulations for all shore-based personnel going onboard vessels. All shore-based personnel will be required to take a COVID-19 PCR test between 2 and 8 January 2021 to ensure they are clear. The regular test frequency will also be increased to every seven days instead of the usual 14. Non-compliant personnel will be denied entry onboard.
MPA requires all shore-based personnel to give advance notice before boarding ships to carry out works. MOH has also announced a special testing operation involving all workers who boarded the ships where the infections took place. MPA, EDB and the relevant authorities will also be increasing checks to ensure compliance of COVID-19 safety measures by both companies and individuals. PPE and infection control measures will also be reviewed for the need of further enhancing efforts.
The country’s port plays a critical supporting role in the economy. Regular reminders have been circulated within the industry to ensure safety compliance while discharging port duties. Click here for more information on the latest implemented maritime safety measures.