15 crew members who tested positive for COVID-19 worked on ship that was in Singapore for repairs, refuel: MPA

15 crew members who tested positive for COVID-19 worked on ship that was in Singapore for repairs, refuel: MPA

singapore port containers economy
A port in Singapore. (File photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: Fifteen Filipino crew members who tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week all worked on the same vessel that had arrived in Singapore from India for repairs and refuelling, said the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) on Saturday (Aug 15).

The Bahamas-registered ocean-going ship arrived in Singapore on Aug 8. 

The first seafarer from the vessel to be confirmed with COVID-19 was on Aug 12. The next day, the Ministry of Health (MOH) reported four more crew members had tested positive.

On Saturday - one week after the vessel arrived in Singapore - another 10 crew members were reported as positive.

Additionally, a technician who boarded the affected vessel between Aug 8 and Aug 12 to carry out essential repair and maintenance work has also been confirmed with COVID-19, said MOH on Saturday.

The man, a Filipino national holding a work pass, was one of the three community cases in Singapore reported on Saturday.

READ: Singapore reports 81 new COVID-19 infections, including 10 crew members who arrived on vessel

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Since Mar 23, ship crew members and passengers on short-term visits have not been allowed to disembark in Singapore, unless given special prior approval from MPA.

All vessels arriving in the Port of Singapore must also submit a Maritime Declaration of Health and crew members are required to record their temperature twice daily.

MPA said that all 22 crew members were swabbed on the ship, where they remained until the COVID-19 test results came back. The 15 crew members who tested positive were transferred ashore and taken to hospital. 

"The remaining crew members are currently quarantined onboard the ship," said MPA.

"Provisions are lifted up the ship to the crew to minimise physical contact," it added.

MPA also said that the ship is currently quarantined with no ongoing operations, and will be thoroughly disinfected.

Separately in July, three crew members scheduled to sign on to ocean-going cargo ships were found to be COVID-19 positive upon arrival, said MPA on Jul 24.

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