In the midst of a crew change crisis that has gripped the global shipping industry, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has further broadened the definition of “Special Circumstances” in an attempt to re-start the normal crew change at the Port of Singapore.
Providing a slight relief to the seafarers awaiting crew change, the MPA has issued a Port Marine Circular dated May 22, the circular has detailed the enhancements to measures previously announced to allow crew changes in “special circumstances”.
“The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) recognises the critical role that seafarers play in global seaborne trade, as well as the importance of crew change to safeguard the health and safety of seafarers sailing on board ships,” the circular said.
Crew changes will now be allowed where the seafarer’s contract has expired, the crew leaving the vessel does not affect safe manning levels, change of crew due to the sale or purchase of ship, and personnel who are not part of the ship’s crew such as superintendents and service engineers.
For sign-off, the crew must not have gone ashore in the last 14 days, have a fit-to-travel certificate from a Singapore doctor, proof of expiry of contract, or documentation proving sale of the vessel.
For sign-on, 14 days quarantine is required, a negative PCR COVID-19 test, and certified fit-to-travel.
In addition, the crew must be transferred directly between the ship and point of arrival/departure in Singapore.
MPA is also exploring other initiatives relating to crew change, with SSA, SMOU, SOS, industry and government agencies. These include development of a guidebook on crew change procedures in Singapore and the chartering of dedicated flights for crew change.
This move could help ease the global crew change crisis, though it still remains a challenge at large as there are hardly any flights operating from Changi Airport.
The circular can be accessed here.