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Shipping, port and shiprepair to remain open as Singapore closes most workplaces

Singapore’s shipyards and marine industries look set to suspend work for a month as the government closes all workplaces except those in essential services and key economic sectors to close in the fight against COVID-19.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced significant tightening of measures, described as a “circuit breaker” to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in televised national address on Friday afternoon.

The PM announced that it would be closing most workplaces except for essential services and key economic sectors.

“Food establishments, markets and supermarkets, clinics, hospitals, utilities, transport and key banking services will remain open. They are essential services,” he said.

“We also should not disrupt economic sectors that are strategic, or form part of a global supply chain.”

According to the gobusinesCOVID government website essential services in transportation and storage include: “Shipping, shipping-related services, safety and navigation services, port and terminal operations, port marine services”.

In the manufacturing and services sectors: “Marine & Offshore Engineering companies involved in ship/vessel repair, and maintenance and overhaul services; and their contractors.”

Singapore is home to the world’s largest container transhipment hub and is a major ship repair centre.

The Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said in a statement: "As maritime is a key economic sector and the Port of Singapore is critical in ensuring the flow of goods, it will remain open for cargo operations and will continue to provide essential marine services including bunkering, ship stores and ship supplies."

The statement said that maritime entities exempted from the suspension will receive a confirmation email from the MPA by 2200hrs on 3 April.

However, it would appear to other parts of the shipyard industry such as newbuilding construction. In his speech PM Lee said: “But most other work premises must close. If the person can work from home, he should do so. But others will not be able to, including foreign workers on construction sites and in shipyards.”

The measures are to take effect from next Tuesday (7 April) and be in place for one month until 4 May.