COVID-19: Negative test required for shore-based personnel to board vessels in Singapore

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·3-min read
A container vessel is docked at the port in Singapore.
A container vessel is docked at the port in Singapore. (PHOTO: Roslan Rahman/AFP via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — All shore-based port personnel in Singapore will now be required to be tested negative for COVID-19 before they can board vessels for work or visiting purposes.

They are also required to perform a SafeEntry@Sea check-in/out when embarking and disembarking at all waterfront facilities.

These new measures – which take effect on Friday (15 January) – were announced by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) on Thursday, in order to safeguard the health and safety of shore-based personnel and their families amid the evolving international COVID-19 situation.

They apply to all vessels (including harbour craft and pleasure craft) at anchorages, piers, marinas, terminals, wharves and shipyards in Singapore.

One-time test sweep 27,000 shore-based personnel

To produce a valid negative result before boarding the vessels, shore-based personnel can either take a COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test from a rostered routine testing programme, an ad hoc PCR test, or an Antigen Rapid Test. The test must be take within 72 hours before boarding the vessel.

To facilitate the tests, MPA has increased the frequency of the rostered routine testing for these personnel from every 14 days to every seven days.

MPA said that it had tested some 27,000 shore-based personnel in a one-time sweep between 2 and 8 January. All except one have been tested negative; the personnel who was tested PCR- and serology-positive has been assessed to have recovered from COVID-19 infection.

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Checks requirement for waterfront facilities, vessels, enterprises

MPA will require the waterfront facilities to conduct checks and disallow boarding of vessels if the personnel cannot produce a negative COVID-19 test result or fails to use SafeEntry@Sea.

Similarly, the vessels must also verify that boarding personnel have the requisite test results, and that safe management measures are implemented on board.

Furthermore, enterprises should ensure that shore-based personnel who have carried out a job on board an ocean-going vessel in the port of Singapore must not go on board a harbour craft or pleasure craft to carry out a job in the next seven days.

Personnel will be held liable for non-compliance should they board a vessel without proof of test results, fail to check in via SafeEntry@Sea or fail to comply with measures on board the vessel.

Vaccination of shore-based personnel begins

MPA has also said that vaccination for shore-based personnel has started on Wednesday.

“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,” it said in a media release.

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