Singapore became one of the first countries to prioritise Covid-19 vaccinations for frontline maritime personnel
Under Singapore’s Sea–Air Vaccination Exercise (SAVE), more than 10,000 frontline maritime personnel are expected to be vaccinated for Covid-19 by the end of January.
These soon-to-be-vaccinated personnel include port workers, harbour pilots, cargo officers, marine surveyors and marine superintendents who are required to work on board ships in the MPA-controlled ports.
Workers include those carrying out essential activity including navigation, refuelling, ship repair and maintenance, as well as operations to transfer cargos.
Harbour craft and oceangoing crew who are Singaporeans and long-term residents living in the community are also prioritised for vaccination. The aim is to keep the Port of Singapore open and ensure the undisrupted flow of goods.
More than 700 personnel have been vaccinated over the past few days to prepare for the full roll-out of SAVE. The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has received about 6,000 registrations for vaccination this week.
Due to the better protection offered by vaccination, frontline maritime personnel who have completed their full course of vaccination will be subject to fewer testing requirements. Going forward, those who are currently on the 7-day Rostered Routine Testing (RRT) will be tested every 14 days; those who are currently on the 14-day RRT will be tested once a month.
MPA chief executive, Quah Ley Hoon said, “We rely on our frontline maritime personnel for the transportation of what we need every day, including food, medical supplies and consumer goods. We hope the vaccination can give them peace of mind when they perform their work on board ships. This will provide an additional layer of protection, and keep their family and the community safe. We strongly encourage them to come forward for early vaccination.”
The first maritime worker to be vaccinated was PSA Marine harbour pilot, Loh Kah Wai. He said, “The vaccination keeps me safe and enables me to do my job with less worry. It’s one more layer of protection, not just for me but for my fellow harbour pilots and my family.”
Singapore Shipping Association president Caroline Yang said, “The Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) welcomes this mass vaccination for maritime personnel who need to board vessels for their work. We urge companies to arrange and encourage staff in the identified maritime roles to be vaccinated, not only as protection for themselves but also as an assurance to their loved ones. SSA will continue to engage the authorities and maritime stakeholders for practical safe management measures so shipping operations in Singapore can continue amid new developments with the global pandemic.”
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