Crew change for cargo ships in the port of Singapore and application for vaccination
Requirements for crew change
This circular supersedes Port Marine Circular no. 39 of 2021.
As Singapore moves to streamline pandemic measures to living with Covid-19 as an endemic disease, MPA has progressively revised our crew change requirements to continue to safeguard the wellbeing of seafarers undergoing crew change in Singapore as well as Singapore’s populace.
The requirements for signing-on and -off in Singapore are as follows:
(a) In general, sign-on crew are required to serve Stay-Home-Notice (SHN) in the crew’s originating country/region in the period1 immediately prior to his/her departure flight/ferry to Singapore. The crew should be completely isolated in a room with a dedicated toilet with strictly no interaction with others (including family members) at his/her place of residence, or serve the SHN in a dedicated facility/hotel. Please refer to ICA’s website (https://safetravel.ica.gov.sg/wphl/SHN-and-swab-summary) for the latest list of countries/regions and their respective SHN period.
(b) Fully vaccinated2 sign on crew from “Active Vaccinated Travel Lane3 (AIR) countries/regions” need not serve SHN.
(c) The crew must have a negative result from a COVID-19 test (polymerase chain reaction (PCR) type) taken at a government-approved or ISO 15189-accredited testing facility at his/her originating country not more than 2 daysprior to departure for Singapore. Alternatively, the crew may produce a negative, professionally administered4 Antigen Rapid Test (ART)5 result taken within 2 days6 prior to departure from Category I/II/III/IV countries/regions.
(d) Unvaccinated crew must be certified fit-to-travel by a doctor at his/her originating country not more than 24 hours prior to departure for Singapore. (e) Sign-on crew shall have MPA’s Final No Objection email prior to departure from his/her SHN location.
(f) Unvaccinated crew shall only join the ship in Singapore after all high-risk7shore-based personnel have completed their work on board and disembarked the ship.
(g) Crew shall wear appropriate personnel protective equipment such as donning of lifejackets during sea transfer. During the entire crew change process, including during the journey to Singapore, the crew should not be in group of more than five (5) persons, and must remain in the same group.
(h) Meet-and-greet services must be arranged for sign-on crew arriving at Changi Airport, to escort the crew from the moment they disembark the plane to the point where they are handed over to the agent for the direct transfer to the ship or designated holding facility.
(i) Crew who are fully vaccinated and recently recovered (i.e. within 90 days of their last infection) will be exempted from all testing and SHN requirements if they are able to provide appropriate documentary proof. Non-fully vaccinated recently-recovered travellers will be exempted from pre-departure testing requirements, but will still be subjected to all other prevailing border measures.
See Annex A for the list of documentation and requirement.
(a) The crew must not have gone ashore in the last 7 days before disembarking the ship, must have remained well and not had contact with any known or suspected case of COVID-19 throughout that period.
(b) The crew must refrain from interacting with shore-based personnel at previous ports of call in the last 7 days. (c) The crew must be certified fit-to-travel by a doctor in Singapore not more than 24 hours before disembarking the ship. Tele-medicine can be used to obtain a fit-to-travel assessment and certification. MPA will accept fit-to travel certificates issued by Singapore Medical Council-fully registered doctors meeting the requirements in Annex B. (d) Crew shall wear appropriate personnel protective equipment such as donning of lifejackets during sea transfer. (e) Crew subjected to serology test shall remain onboard until production of a negative COVID-19 serology test result. (f) During the entire crew change process the crew should not be in group of more than five (5) persons, and must remain in the same group.
Designated crew change holding facilities in Singapore
Unvaccinated sign-on crew and sign-off crew may stay at the designated holding facilities in Singapore for up to 24 hours. Fully vaccinated crew can stay up to 5 days. Please refer to Annex C for details of the designated holding facilities.
CrewSafe accredited facility
The Singapore Shipping Tripartite Alliance Resilience Fund Taskforce (SFTF) has developed a CrewSafe audit programme that endeavours to assist crew source nations to bring a higher level of confidence and quality control checks into crew change processes such as quarantine/holding, medical and swabbing facilities. Please refer to this website (https://www.ssa.org.sg/news-publications/sg-star-fund) for more information regarding the CrewSafe audit programme and a list of CrewSafe accredited facilities.
For sign-on crew who undergo the protocol under these CrewSafe accredited facilities located overseas, his/her crew change application may be given the following concessions:
(a) Submission of crew change application must be made at least 3 days in advance, instead of 7 days.
(b) If a sign-on crew undergoing the CrewSafe protocol is cancelled, direct replacement for this crew will be allowed if the replacement has been undergoing CrewSafe protocol for the same required duration, instead of having to re-submit a new application and re-start the process.
(c) At Singapore, sign-on crew who had undergone the CrewSafe protocol may stay at the designated holding facilities for up to 5 days, if required.
Holding areas at Marine South Pier and West Coast Pier
All crew that utilise Marina South Pier (MSP) or West Coast Pier (WCP) shall remain at the designated holding areas while waiting to clear immigration. Should the holding area be full, the crew shall remain in their private transportation.
For sign-off crew, the private transportation shall be ready and waiting so that the crew can depart MSP/WCP immediately upon clearing immigration and do not need to crowd up the holding area.
Agents and appointed drivers are responsible for ensuring that the crew remain in the holding area or private vehicle at all times. At no time should the crew be loitering outside the holding area and interacting with the general public.Precautionary measures for service providers facilitating crew change
Service providers that facilitate crew change in Singapore shall comply with the minimum level of personal protective equipment (PPE) as follows:
• Meet-and-greet staff shall don PPE in accordance with the prevailing requirements set by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and Changi Airport Group.
• Land transport drivers shall don full PPE (N95 mask, gloves, gown, face shield) when transporting crew between the airport/ferry terminal and vessel/holding facility.
• Launch boat operators shall don full PPE (N95 mask, gloves, gown, face shield) when transporting crew between the pier and vessel.
All crew shall be transferred directly from the airport/ferry terminal to the vessel/holding facilities/vaccination centre and vice versa without any detour.
Land transport drivers and launch boat operators shall keep all windows open when ferrying sign-on/off crew, as far as practicable. They shall always maintain safe distancing and shall not handle the crew’s belongings at any time. The seats and other frequently touched surfaces shall be disinfected8 after each trip.
The agent shall charter a dedicated launch boat for conveyance of sign-on/off crew between the pier and vessel. No other personnel (e.g. boarding agents, technicians) shall take the same launch boat as the sign-on/off crew. COVID-19 Pre-Departure Testing in Singapore
MPA notes that some countries require travellers to take a COVID-19 pre-departure test (PDT) and present a valid negative test result before they are allowed to transit through or enter. Similar requirements are also imposed by some airlines before allowing travellers to board their flights.
MPA has been facilitating COVID-19 pre-departure testing for sign-off crew in Singapore on a case-by-case basis. Please be reminded that MPA’s approval shall be sought for signing-off crew to take PDT in Singapore.
For crew change applications where the sign-off crew requires PDT before departing Singapore, medical service provider shall carry out the PDT onboard vessel after receiving approval from MPA. MPA approval is required before crew with PDT negative result is allowed to sign off. COVID positive crew shall isolate and recover onboard vessel, in accordance to prevailing health protocol in Singapore
Under the SEAVAX programme, MPA is able to facilitate the vaccination of crew in Singapore. Ship owners/managers/agents may apply for the crew’s vaccination at the following link https://go.gov.sg/mpa-icc-seavaxat least 3 days prior to the vessel’s arrival in Singapore.
Crew Change Application
Ship owners/managers/agents must apply for crew change9 in Singapore via the Crew Change System (https://transact.mpa.gov.sg/Crews). The user guide for the new Crew Change System can be downloaded at this link
Ship owners/managers/agents shall submit applications at least 7 days before the planned crew change. For foreign-flagged ships, crew change will be considered if the ship meets all prevailing requirements, and is in Singapore for cargo operations, bunkering and/or other marine services. General
For crew changes to take place safely, MPA continues to expect all owners, agents, ships and individuals to ensure that the COVID-19 preventive measures are followed strictly. Any breach will be taken seriously.
This circular is to be read in conjunction with Port Marine Circular; a) No. 9 of 2015 – Measures To Optimise Anchorages Usage In The Singapore Port b) No 34 of 2020 – Guidelines For Safe Transfer of Persons Between Vessels at Anchorages
Any queries relating to this circular should be directed to [email protected]
1. Fully vaccinated and recently-recovered crew may be exempted from Pre Departure test (PDT) and Stay Home Notice (SHN) if they are able to present the following documents (in English, or with an English translation) in addition to the necessary vaccination certificates:
a. Positive COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test or professionally-administered Antigen Rapid Test (ART) result between 7 – 90 days before the date of departure for Singapore; or
b. Discharge memo that: i. states your name, and at least one other personal identifier such as the date of birth or passport number corresponding exactly with the information in your passport used for entry into Singapore; ii. states your date of infection or the discharge date, which must be within 7 – 90 days before the date of departure for Singapore; and iii. is issued by a relevant state authority or licensed medical professional.
2. In addition, recently-recovered crew who are not fully vaccinated may be exempted from Pre-Departure Testing requirement if they are able to present the following documents:
a. Positive COVID-19 PCR test or professionally-administered ART result between 14 – 90 days before the date of departure for Singapore; or
b. Discharge memo that:
i. states your name, and at least one other personal identifier such as the date of birth or passport number corresponding exactly with the information in your passport used for entry into Singapore;
ii. states your date of infection or the discharge date, which must be within 14 – 90 days before the date of departure for Singapore; and
iii. is issued by a relevant state authority or licensed medical professional.
1 MPA accepts fit-to-travel certificates issued by Singapore Medical Council (SMC)-fully registered doctors meeting all following requirements: • The doctor conducting the assessment must have completed the tele-medicine e-training provided by Singapore Ministry of Health (MOH).
A copy of the doctor’s e-training participation statement must be submitted with the fit-to-travel certificate to MPA;
• The doctor must conduct the clinical assessment over real time video (i.e. no asynchronous video, voice calls or text will be permitted); • The assessment of the crew should be based on the prevailing suspect case definition set out by the MOH (e.g. MOH Circular 119/2020), which includes: o History taking; o Self-reported symptoms; o Visual assessment of symptoms; and o Real-time taking of temperature and Sp02 (Doctors should provide guidance on the proper use of such devices during the assessment).
• The doctor should also include, in his assessment of the crew’s general health, his consultations with the captain/senior officer and the signing-off crew lead, taking into consideration the prevailing suspect case definition.
2 .If any of the above requirements cannot be met for any reason (e.g. no proof of statement of participation, concerns that self-reporting is not accurate, crew meet the prevailing suspect case definition, technology issues such as poor video call quality, or no on-board thermometer/Sp02 device), a shipboard assessment of the crew by the doctor must then be done.
3. The doctor shall continue to take responsibility for the accurate completion of the fit-to-travel certificate regardless of the modality of assessment. Technical advisory for enhancing the conduct of tele-medicine onboard ships
4 . As the tele-medicine consultations require real time video and audio, it is recommended that users utilise end-point devices (laptops, smartphones, or tablets) equipped with the following:
• Devices with front-facing cameras or webcams;
• Headphones/earphones with in-built microphones; and
• Local 4G/LTE cellular connectivity, as on-board WiFi may not have sufficient bandwidth to support real time video and audio.
5. In terms of device settings, the device system clock’s time zone should be set to Singapore Standard Time (GMT +8).
6. For the conduct of the tele-medicine consultations, the recommendations to enhance the user experience are as follows:
• Cell phone reception can be affected by the metallic structure of the vessel. Therefore, for consultations using cellular service, it should be conducted at the ship’s bridge where the cellular connectivity is usually strongest.
• Choose a location with sufficient lighting for the video session.
• There should be minimal crowding so as to respect personal privacy and maintain social distancing.
• Ambient noise should be kept to a minimum, e.g.turn down/off nearby air-conditioning units, reduce the volume of nearby walkie-talkies.
• Speak slowly and clearly, and refrain from speaking at the same time as the doctor
Source: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore