Accommodation barge owners Bibby Maritime Ltd said Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) chartered two floating accommodation barges from Bibby Maritime for immediate use to house healthy workers after a major spike in coronavirus infection numbers linked to worker dormitories
The floating accommodations will house foreign workers to help combat the spread of coronavirus by reducing travel and social contact in Singapore, Bibby said.
Many foreign workers live in cramped dormitories in Singapore, which do not offer the space to allow for social distancing measures. The dormitory accommodations have become a source of coronavirus infections in recent days. Authorities are moving some of the healthy residents of those dormitories to other sites including floating accommodation.
Singapore’s MPA said all foreign workers to be rehoused will have to go through health checks, including swabs to test for the virus, before being allowed aboard the floatels.
Singapore is currently in the middle of a national lockdown to counter the spread of Covid-19, with more than 3,500 cases documented in the country.
The floating accommodations were towed to Tanjong Pagar Terminal, Singapore on 10-11 April. Both Bibby Progress and Floatel Triumph have been used in southeast Asia over last decade for workers in shipyards and in the offshore construction industry.
Bibby Maritime chief executive Helen Samuels said of the decision, “In line with the Bibby Line Group values, we have sought to do the right thing and worked together to provide both floating accommodations as we collectively look to counter the Covid-19 pandemic.
“When we were approached by the MPA with this prompt requirement we knew we could mobilise quickly and safely to the project site, being virtually just ‘around the corner’ in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.
“A good relationship with the MPA, highly trusted local connections and great teamwork across different time zones are the essential [elements] that have made these charters happen. We very much look forward to working with the MPA to make sure the residents on board have a comfortable and safe stay on our assets in a time of uncertainty.”
The two floating accomodations barges, Bibby Progress and Floatel Triumph, can accommodate up to 500 people. MPA Singapore is collaborating on the project with terminal operator PSA Singapore, Keppel Offshore & Marine shipyard, Bibby Maritime Limited, and The Ascott Limited.