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Impact of COVID-19 outbreak on Singapore-registered ships

  • calendar

    27 February 2020

  • location

    Singapore

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MPA understands that in view of the ongoing COVID-19 situation, owners and managers of Singapore-registered ships (SRS) are facing challenges in meeting various statutory requirements under the Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) Act (the MLC Act), the Merchant Shipping Act and the subsidiary legislations.

These challenges may include the timely repatriation of seafarers onboard SRS at the end of the period in the seafarer’s employment agreement (SEA), deployment of seafarers who are not able to obtain revalidation from training institutes for their expiring certifications, inability to obtain shipyard dry-docking services, inability to carry out mandatory periodical surveys, audits and inspections in time, etc.

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. The following paragraphs include a non-exhaustive list of scenarios and provide instructions for SRS owners and managers who face such challenging issues due to the COVID-19 outbreak, to obtain MPA’s favourable consideration and expedited approval.

EXTENSION OF SEA SERVICE BEYOND CONTRACT PERIOD
SRS owners and managers unable to repatriate seafarers who have completed the employment duration as stipulated in the seafarers’ SEA in accordance with Section 23 of the MLC Act may submit a request to MPA for extension of the sea service period. Documents to be submitted as follows:
A) Employment details of the affected seafarers
B) Confirmation of consent by the affected seafarers

The extension of contractual period of the seafarers should be reflected on the corresponding SEA of the affected seafarers. Ship owners and managers should also ensure that the notification of crew list to MPA, in accordance with Section 15 of the MLC Act, is carried out.

EXTENSION OF SEA SERVICE PERIOD BEYOND QUALIFICATION REVALIDATION DEADLINE
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. SRS owners and managers may submit such request in-writing to MPA, accompanied with a confirmation of continued validity from the issuing authority of the seafarer’s COC.

MPA will issue a flag administration confirmation letter for the seafarer to continue serving onboard SRS. No fees will be charged for this endorsement. 8. For Singapore COC holders, MPA will issue a letter to extend validity of the COC of the holders who may not be able to disembark due to the captioned grounds, similarly without fees.

EXTENSION OF MANDATORY SURVEYS, AUDITS AND EXPIRY OF STATUTORY CERTIFICATES
Consideration will also be given to the extension of mandatory statutory surveys, inspections or audits. Application for extension of surveys/inspections/audits or validity of statutory certificates may be submitted to MPA, accompanied by recommendation from the recognised organisation (RO) that issued the relevant certificate on behalf of MPA.

We advise SRS owners and managers to submit such application before the due date of the surveys/audits or expiry date of the statutory certificate in order to avoid Port State Control issues.

All application for dispensations as mentioned in paragraphs 4, 6 and 9 may be submitted to MPA at email: shipping@mpa.gov.sg

Notwithstanding the above email contact, SRS owners and managers may contact our Duty Officers during after-office-hours for urgent matters at our 24/7 hotline, +65 62255777.

(For information about operations in Singapore, contact GAC Singapore at singapore@gac.com)

Source: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore Shipping Circular No.03 of 2020 dated 26 February 2020

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