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Singapore aims for 600 crew changes a day

Owners, managers and operators of Singapore-flagged ships encouraged to tap opportunities brought about by the pandemic, in areas such as digitalisation and decarbonisation. More remote inspections have been carried out as a result of the situation this year

MPA said it expected to conduct 500 to 600 crew changes per day in the coming months and had facilitated the signing on or off of more than 50,000 crew of all nationalities since March

SINGAPORE expects to conduct some 500 to 600 crew changes per day in the coming months in a boost to efforts to tackle a problem created as a result of coronavirus lockdown measures around the world.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore said that since March, crew changes had been facilitated in Singapore for more than 50,000 crew of nationalities signing on or off ship.

The operation involved ships of different flags and more than 2,900 companies and 3,500 ships, said MPA chief executive Quah Ley Hoon.

Speaking on a webinar, she said Singapore had kept its place among the top five ship registries in the world despite the impact of the pandemic, reaching the 96m gross tonnage milestone in 2020.

“While the pandemic has thrown Maritime Singapore many challenges, it also presented us with opportunities to emerge stronger,” she said. “To do this, MPA will strengthen partnerships to drive digitalisation and decarbonisation of shipping and ensure that the Singapore Registry of Ships is adaptable and agile in the new normal.”

Examples of the way the health crisis has accelerated the adoption of technology include a rapid increase in the number of remote inspections the flag state has carried out since June in order to minimise the risk to crews and surveyors on ships.

To date, MPA’s surveyors have conducted 128 remote flag state and port state inspections involving 74 companies.

The current situation has also resulted in the increasing use of remote technologies to conduct class surveys and audits, including inspection of ship equipment via video streaming platforms, and verification of documents sent electronically.

It collaborated with classification societies authorised to perform statutory certification and survey services for Singapore-flagged ships to develop these technologies and continues efforts to broaden their scope.

It also reiterated that Singapore’s maritime authority would continue to support seafarers through the pandemic and highlighted the flag’s stellar record of having 99% of crew on board Singapore-registered ships within their service contract periods.

MPA meanwhile renewed its commitment to partner the industry in driving decarbonisation efforts by extending its memorandum of understanding with the Global Compact Network Singapore, the local chapter of the United Nations Global Compact, by an additional three years to 2023.

The initiative seeks to promote carbon management and awareness among maritime companies.

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