The MaritimeSG Together Package will be extended to continue supporting the more affected sectors in the maritime industry to tide through this COVID-19 pandemic. The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) will extend relevant measures under the package to 30 June 2021, bringing the cumulative amount of support to S$33 million.
The package was first introduced in May 2020 to provide support for companies, individuals and seafarers during the pandemic. The various relief measures in the existing package are set to expire after 31 December 2020.
The support measures being extended include:
- Support for passenger-carrying vessels and passenger terminal operators i.e. SATS-Creuers Cruise Services Pte Ltd and Singapore Cruise Centre (Private) Limited (SCCPL);
- Support for offshore vessel operators;
- Extension of credit terms for maritime companies;
- Manpower and productivity support schemes for maritime companies and individuals; and
- Support for local seafarers.
Support for passenger-carrying vessels and passenger terminal operators
As passenger volumes continued to remain low due to the pandemic, MPA will continue to provide economic relief to passenger vessel owners and operators, as well as passenger terminal operators.
50% port dues concession for passenger vessels
Earlier this year, MPA announced a 50% port dues concession for passenger-carrying vessels from 1 March to 31 December 2020. MPA will extend the concession for another six months, until 30 June 2021. This will be on top of all existing port dues concessions.
50% rebate on counter rental and overnight berthing for regional ferry service operators
MPA had earlier announced a 50% rebate to counter rental and overnight berthing fees for regional ferry service operators and their ferries respectively, until 31 December 2020. MPA will work with SCCPL to extend the 50% rebate for counter rental at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal (TMFT) and overnight berthing at both TMFT and the Regional Ferry Terminal at HarbourFront Centre until 30 June 2021.
100% waiver of public licence fees for passenger terminal operators
MPA had earlier granted passenger terminal operators, SCCPL and SATS-Creuers, a 100% waiver of their public licence fees for FY 2019. This will be extended for one more year, i.e. FY 2020.
Support for offshore vessel operators
MPA will continue to provide relief to the offshore sector which has seen a significant drop in demand for offshore services arising from the fall in oil prices. The 50% port dues concession for MPA-approved offshore support vessels carrying out Category 4 activity from day 91 to day 180 will be extended until 30 June 2021.
Extension of credit terms for maritime companies
Due to the COVID-19 situation, companies may face challenges in managing their cash flows and meeting their financial obligations. MPA will continue to extend credit terms of up to an additional 45 days (beyond existing 30 days standard credit terms) until 30 June 2021.
Manpower and productivity support schemes for maritime companies and individuals
To strengthen longer-term capabilities and encourage more individuals to take up upskilling and reskilling opportunities, MPA will extend the Internship Reimbursement Scheme and increase in co-funding provided under selected Maritime Cluster Fund (MCF) programmes for another six months, until 30 June 2021.
Internship Reimbursement Scheme for maritime companies
MPA had earlier introduced the Internship Reimbursement Scheme to help maritime companies provide students who are Singaporeans or Singapore Permanent Residents with internship opportunities. MPA co-funds 50% of the internship allowance paid by maritime companies, capped at S$500 per month per intern, for up to a maximum period of six months. This scheme will be extended for another six months to 30 June 2021 and will cover internships which commence from 1 May 2020 to 30 June 2021.
Increased co-funding under selected MCF programmes
MPA has earlier increased co-funding support under selected MCF training and productivity schemes to up to 90%. These measures seek to encourage upskilling and further support maritime companies in their digital transformation efforts during this period. The increased co-funding support will be extended for another six months. Eligible courses or projects must commence between 1 May 2020 and 30 June 2021 to qualify for the increased co-funding.
Support for local seafarers
Seafarers Relief Package
During this COVID-19 period, seafarers are faced with uncertainty due to increased border control measures and crew change restrictions. To support some 500 Singaporean seafarers who are working behind the scenes to enable seaborne trade to continue to flow, MPA, together with the Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union (SMOU) and the Singapore Organisation of Seamen (SOS), will extend the Seafarers Relief Package for eligible Singaporean seafarers who are unable to secure shipboard employment between 1 January and 30 June 2021. They can apply to receive up to S$700 per month in financial assistance, for a maximum of six months.
Achievement Award for Seafarers
MPA, the Employment and Employability Institute, SMOU, and SOS, will also extend the Achievement Award scheme to reward eligible Singaporean and Singapore Permanent Resident seafarers up to S$10,000, for successfully obtaining their Singapore-issued Certificate of Competency (CoC) 1 and thereafter, accumulating at least six months of working experience on board vessels in the capacity of senior shipboard management. This will encourage more seafarers to build up their proficiencies to assume key shore roles such as marine and technical superintendents. The scheme will be extended for an additional year from 1 January to 31 December 2021.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about unprecedented disruption to the global economy, affecting businesses, jobs and individuals. MPA recognises the continued challenges faced by some in the maritime industry, and is committed to support maritime companies, individuals and Singaporean seafarers through the extension of our relief measures so that Maritime Singapore can continue to remain resilient,” said Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive of MPA.
Sea News, December 8