Across the pandemic, seafarers have been stuck on ships all over the world due to border restrictions, affecting their wellbeing and mental health. Singapore has been making progress with crew change for seafarers that call at our ports through collaboration at the tripartite level. The setting up of the Singapore Crew Change Work Group (SGCCWG) and the development of the Crew Change Guide Book has helped to outline and facilitate the process so that this can be done in a safe and efficient manner.
To further value-add to CBA companies, SMOU organised an online session with special guests from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), Wavelink Maritime Institute (WMI), Speedoc, Greywing and SITA World. The session was to update companies on the latest updates, tools and technology that the industry is offering especially to address issues that have risen from the pandemic. The companies are able to utilise these services to adjust and navigate through the new norm for shipping. The session of 80 people took place on an e-platform with representatives from 35 CBA companies joining in to learn from organisations that facilitate parts of the crew change chain of processes.
SMOU General Secretary Mary Liew started the session by welcoming company representatives and guests of the session. MPA kicked off the session with an update on requirements for crew change in Singapore based on the Port Marine Circular 027 of 2020 (PMC 27). The update included the proposal of two holding facilities for seafarers waiting to embark onto vessels, and other protocols that are required by employers while making arrangements for the changing of their crew.
Dr Shravan Verma the CEO and Founder of Speedoc followed by introducing the new technology of “tele-medicine” consultation services that his company provides. The real time video consultation can be used by employers to obtain fit-to-travel assessment and certification for crew signing off from Singapore. He shed light on the consultation process and equipment required on board ships so that doctors can virtually determine seafarers’ fitness and health.
Mr James Tang, Executive Director from SITA World also spoke on the procedures of how shipping companies can go about arranging for flights during the COVID-19 period. This is particularly helpful since many airlines have reduced their routes and number of flights in light of travel restrictions amid the pandemic.
Another organisation that has come alongside to provide their invaluable services is the software company Greywing. Nick Clarke, CEO of Greywing introduced their software that provides data informing employers on port regulations and number of seafarers that are due for crew change. The real time information on the application is able to help employers make informed decisions when planning for crew signing on and off from ships docked in Singapore.
Finally, with the focus on training and skilling during this period of economic uncertainty, Mr Wilfred Thiang, Head of Marketing at Wavelink Maritime Institute shared with company representatives on the available training program for seafarers. Instead of just waiting for their next voyage, seafarers can sharpen their skills through courses to increase their employability by gaining valuable skillsets for the jobs of tomorrow.
The session ended with a question and answer segment where arrangements for crew change were clarified. Overall, it was an informative and important meeting for the crew change situation in Singapore. With more organisations banding together to provide assistance, not only will seafarers benefit, but the maritime sector in Singapore will also be able to recover at a quicker pace from this unforeseen situation.
SMOU and partners from the SGCCWG urge members of the maritime sector to continue adhering to protocols provided in the Crew Change Guidebook. Only with the cooperation of everyone can we continue to work together for the smooth crew change of seafarers, and the safety of the community in Singapore.
Indeed it is only ‘together’ as a maritime community that we can overcome this hurdle!