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Crew Change Crisis

Singapore sets up floating crew holding facility and $736,000 crew change fund

Photo: MPA 2.jpg
The floating Crew Facilitation Centre, a self-contained facility with on-site medical centre
Singapore is establishing a floating Crew Facilitation Centre (CFC) with on-site medical provisions, as well as a SGD1m ($736,000) Singapore Shipping Tripartite Alliance Resilience (SG-STAR) Fund.

From 1 September, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), with support of PSA Singapore, will use an existing floating accommodation to set up the CFC at Tanjong Pagar Terminal. The CFC is a self-contained facility with medical centre, testing and holding facilities, dedicated to sign-on crew to house them for 48 hours prior to them boarding their ships when their ship and flight schedule do not match.

MPA said the CFC will facilitate more crew change to take place in Singapore and keep both the ships and local community safe.

Sign-off crew, based on current procedures, will proceed to depart Singapore or stay at existing designated holding facilities for up to 48 hours.

The MPA, Singapore Shipping Association (SSA), Singapore Maritime Officers' Union, and Singapore Organisation of Seamen, will also establish the SGD$1m SG-STAR Fund to work with stakeholders in seafaring nations on concrete solutions for safe crew changes, such as initiatives on best practices for crew holding facilities and PCR testing centres.

Caroline Yang, president of SSA, commented: “The SG-STAR Fund aims to support initiatives to help ensure the safe passage of crew from supplying countries. These may include establishing proper isolation facilities and whitelisting qualifying medical institutions to provide safe, accurate, and timely Covid-19 PCR tests.”

Mary Liew, general secretary of the SMOU, said: “With the new initiative of a dedicated crew facilitation centre which will involve segregating crew in the floating accommodation , we will be able to enhance Singapore’s crew change protocol in a safer manner for seafarers and a more sustainable solution for shipping companies.”

Ong Ye Kung, Singapore’s Minister for Transport, said: “This has been a trying time for seafarers. They have been working tirelessly to keep goods flowing around the world. But due to health and safety concerns, many have encountered difficulties to call on ports and undergo crew change, and that has severely affected their well-being.

“It is therefore very important for all stakeholders to come together to ensure safe port operations and safe crew changes. As shipping is a global business, we hope that more ports and stakeholders will join us in such initiatives, so that seafarers can continue their work and keep the supply lines of the world open,” Ong added.