COVID19 AND CREW CHANGE: Singapore Ban Seafarers
Following increased outbreak of Covid infection in India, Singapore has prohibited crew change for seafarers with recent travel history to the country, following a sharp spike in new COVID-19 cases in that country in recent days.
Effective 24 April 2021, all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history (including transit) to India within the last 14 days will not be allowed entry into Singapore, or transit through Singapore, the country’s Ministry of Health (MOH) announced.
According to the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), this includes sign-on crew travelling to Singapore by flight, as well as sign-off crew from vessels that have called in India.
What is more, the ban applies to sign-on crew transiting India on their connecting flights to Singapore.
India has been hit by a devastating second wave of infections and currently has around 16 million confirmed cases. On Friday, it reported more than 330,000 new cases — the world’s highest daily tally of COVID-19 infections for a second day.
The recent restriction imposed by Singapore would be another hindrance to solving the year-long crew change crisis at a time when the number of seafarers requiring repatriation is declining.
In March 2021, this number was halved to 200,000 from 400,000 in September 2020.
With this development there are fears that the situation could worsen globally.