Port of Singapore enhances COVID-19 testing protocols

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Image used for representational purposes only (Image Courtesy: MPA Singapore)

Shore-based personnel carry out essential work onboard vessels in our port such as cargo and bunkering operations, repairs and maintenance, as well as surveys and inspections. They play an important role in keeping the port open and our supply chains flowing so that essential goods can continue to be brought into Singapore.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), together with relevant agencies, tested some 27,000 shore-based personnel in a one-time sweep between 2 and 8 January 2021. All have been tested PCR-negative except for one person who was tested PCR-positive and serology-positive, and has been assessed to have recovered from COVID-19 infection.

Given the evolving COVID-19 situation internationally, to further safeguard the health and safety of shore-based personnel and their families, MPA is introducing enhanced requirements for shore-based personnel boarding vessels (including harbour craft and pleasure craft) at anchorages, piers, marinas, terminals, wharves and shipyards in Singapore. These requirements take effect from 15 January 2021.

Implementation of checks of COVID-19 tests and SafeEntry@Sea

All shore-based personnel who will be boarding vessels for work or visits must produce proof of a valid negative result from a COVID-19 PCR test from a rostered routine testing programme, an ad hoc COVID-19 PCR test or Antigen Rapid Test taken within 72 hours before boarding the vessel. The frequency of rostered routine testing for shore-based personnel who go onboard vessels regularly has increased from every 14 days to every seven days.

To facilitate contract tracing should the need arises, all shore-based personnel are required to perform a SafeEntry@Sea check-in/out when embarking and disembarking at all waterfront facilities. They must provide details of their company and vessel(s) to be boarded, and comply with the safe management measures on board the vessel.

The waterfront facility’s owner, occupier or manager must conduct stringent checks and disallow any personnel from going on board if proof of a negative test result is not produced or if the personnel fails to use SafeEntry@Sea.

Compliance of COVID-19 safe management measures

MPA requires the owner, master, agent of the vessel, which the shore-based personnel is boarding, to verify that the personnel has the requisite test results. The owner, master, agent of the vessel must also implement safe management measures on board the vessel when the shore-based personnel is on board.

If a shore-based personnel boards a vessel to work without proof of test results, fails to check in via SafeEntry@Sea, and/or fails to comply with measures on board the vessel, the personnel will also be held liable for non-compliance.

COVID-19 vaccination of shore-based personnel

As part of the Government’s measures to protect frontline workers, shore-based personnel who are required to board a vessel in port in the course of their work, including marine pilots as well as seafarers who are Singaporeans or long-term residents, will be prioritised for vaccination against COVID-19. Vaccination for shore-based personnel has started on 13 January 2021.

Sea News Feature, January 15

Baibhav Mishra
Author: Baibhav Mishra

Associate Editor, Sea News