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Singapore eases crew change restrictions

Changes of crew whose contracts have expired as well as crew changes due to the sale of a ship will now be considered. The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore is also examining other initiatives, including developing a guidebook for crew change procedures in Singapore and chartering of dedicated flights

MPA says it “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”

SINGAPORE has eased crew change restrictions, with the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore now considering allowing moves under a greater range of conditions.

These include crew whose employment contract has expired, additional crew on board whose sign-off would not affect the safe manning of the ship, change of crew because of the sale or purchase of ship and personnel who are not part of the ship’s crew, such as superintendents and service engineers.  

In a circular, MPA said it “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”.

Despite the tightening of restrictions on entry of short-term visitors to Singapore to prevent the spread of coronavirus, MPA had earlier continued to facilitate crew change under special circumstances, including crew having served maximum time on board with no further extensions of employment contract granted by the flag state, as well as compassionate and medical grounds.

MPA has since worked closely with the Singapore Shipping Association, Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union, Singapore Organisation for Seamen and other government agencies to enhance the existing procedures. 

In addition, MPA is also exploring other initiatives relating to crew change with these organisations, including development of a guidebook on crew change procedures in Singapore and the chartering of dedicated flights for change of crews.

There are still documentary proof requirements for the crew changes to take effect and special transfer arrangements for the crew to be transferred directly between the ship and point of arrival/departure in Singapore remain in force.

Shipowners, managers and agents may apply for crew change in Singapore by writing to shipping@mpa.gov.sg and pms@mpa.gov.sg at least 14 days in advance of the planned crew change.

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