The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) have issued Shipping Circular No. 3 of 2020 relating to the impact of COVID-19 on Singapore-registered ships. It is applicable to Ship owners, managers, operators, masters of Singapore-registered ships, recognised organisations, agents and the general shipping community.
The circular notes the following: “The 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 circular goes on to deal with a pragmatic approach (in the face of COVID-19) to a number of issues including the following:
- Extension of sea service beyond contract period;
- Extension of sea service period beyond qualification revalidation deadline;
- Extension of mandatory surveys, audits and expiry of statutory certificates.