The Maritime Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore has hosted 100,000 crew changeovers at the Port of Singapore during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement, the MPA said it had facilitated 100,000 sign-on and sign-off changes from approximately 6,700 ships since 27 March 2020 and worked with more than 5,000 companies to do so.
Furthermore, it claimed it continues to facilitate crew changes for ships of all flags and crew of various nationalities through a ‘safe corridor’.
It also said it had worked with unions, industry and international partners on crew change protocols that safeguard both seafarers and the regional economy.
Crew changes have been an important issue for the maritime industry throughout the pandemic, as national lockdowns across the world have stopped seafarers disembarking from vessels, leaving thousands stranded for almost a year in some cases.
In January 2021, more than 300 maritime industry and human rights leaders, including many major carriers, launched a fresh effort to resolve the crisis by signing the ‘Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change’.
The milestone for MPA coincides with a difficult start to 2021 for the Port of Singapore. In January it handled 3.16 million TEU a year-on-year (YoY) drop of 0.8%. Notably, its vessel traffic declined by 37% YoY as carriers continued to cancel voyages, known as blank sailings, to safeguard freight rates.
Bunker sales and cargo throughput also fell by 0.3% each.