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'Pragmatic approach’ for S’pore-registered ships over coronavirus regulatory issues

With the coronavirus (COVID-19) impacting the ability of owners to comply with regulations in areas such a crew changes and drydocking the Singapore Registry of Ships (SRS) is adopting what it describes as a “pragmatic approach”.

Challenges faced by owners in managers include the timely repatriation of seafarers at the end of their contracts, re-validation of seafarer certificates, an inability to obtain drydocking services, and an inability to undertake statutory surveys.

“The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) empathises with the situation faced by the owners and managers of SRS and desires to take a pragmatic approach to assist the industry in  overcoming  these  challenges,” MPA said in a circular to shipping.

Where a seafarer cannot be repatriated at the end of their contract in compliance with the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) owners and managers can apply for an extension of the sea service period with the consent of the affected seafarers.

In terms of the revalidation of seafarer certificates MPA said: “Consideration  will  be  given  to  allow  seafarers  who  hold  foreign  issued Certificates of Competencies (COC) to continue serving onboard SRS, if they are unable to revalidate their COC before the expiry date due to the COVID-19 outbreak.”

For Singapore COC holders who cannot disembark, for example due to their vessel having called in China in the previous 14 days, the MPA will issue a letter to extend the validity of the COC.

MPA also said consideration would be given to the extension of mandatory statutory surveys, inspections or audits upon application to the MPA.


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