Licensing a Harbour Craft

The Maritime and Port Authority (Harbour Craft) Regulations state that no vessel shall be used as a harbour craft within the port without a harbour craft licence.

Categories of licence

Under the provisions of the above Regulations, harbour craft licences are issued by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) to vessels used for commercial purposes within the port.

The following categories of licence are issued:



Vessel used for the carriage in bulk of petroleum, liquefied gases, liquid chemicals or vegetable/animal oils

Note: The craft owner must ensure that the vessel meets the 'gate system' for the licensing of port limits bunker tankers.


Vessel used for the carriage of dry or packaged cargoes

Note:  In order to transport Dangerous Goods Group I / Explosives and Class A or B petroleum in package, the craft must be licensed under the SC category. In addition, the Port Master may choose to endorse on the licence of a cargo harbour craft the number of passengers he deems as fit to be carried on that craft, and therefore not necessary for the SC harbour craft to be licensed separately as an SP harbour craft.


Vessel used for the carriage of passengers

Note: Customers applying for a licence for a passenger ship for the carriage of more than 12 passengers, or a waterboat, are advised to obtain prior in-principle permission from the Port Master before any commitment is made to purchase or construct the craft.


Vessel used for towing, pushing or pulling other vessels.

Note: The minimum engine shaft power of a tugboat shall not be less than 150 kilowatt (200 brake horsepower). All tugs of steel construction of 750 kilowatt power and above that operate within port limits must be outfitted with anti-oil pollution.


Vessel used for any other purpose

Applying for a harbour craft licence 

When applying for a harbour craft licence, the applicant is required to submit the application via Marinet. The following documents are required during the application for a new harbour craft licence.

The following documents are required upon submission of application:

  1. Identification belonging to craft owner of licensee
    1. Instant Information Printout from the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) for licensing in the name of a corporate body.

  2. Proof of ownership
    1. Bill of Sale; or
    2. Charter Agreement; or
    3. Builder’s Certificate; or
    4. Hull Receipt or Invoice

  3. Proof of origin of vessel
    1. Launching Permit; or
    2. Import Permit; or
    3. General Arrival Declaration

  4. Insurance Policy
    1. All harbour craft
      1. Clauses 7 to 9 of the institute Time Clauses (Hulls – Port Risks)- (20/7/87)
      2. Limits of liability as per declared or insured value of hull and machinery (whichever is higher) subject to a minimum of $200,000 in any one accident or occurrence
      3. An additional coverage at $500 for every ton or part thereof above 300 gross tonnes
      4. In the case of a Protection and indemnity (P & I) coverage, the P & I must be one which is recognised by the Authority and has a representative office in Singapore.
      5. The P & I Coverage for 1/4 Running Down Clause (RDC) must be amended to 4/4 RDC.

    2. Additional coverage for port limit passenger vessels (that is, craft licences to carry more than 12 passengers
      1. Liability for personal injury or loss of life
      2. Limits of liability – An additional minimum amount of $5,000 for every passenger in excess of the 12 that the craft is licenses to carry, in any accident or occurrence

    3. Additional coverage for port limit tankers and oil barges
      1. Liability for oil pollution damages and costs of preventing damages and costs of preventing or reducing damage results from the discharge or escape of oil
      2. Limits of liability - $1 million per 100 gross tons or part thereof in any one accident or occurrence

  5. Craft’s minimum manning

  6. Mooring letter or approval letter from the owner of the premises

  7. Letter of approval for use of pier/landing places where applicable issued by the owner/manager of the facilities

  8. Craft must be in port when application for new harbour craft licence is made

  9. Any other documents or requirements as may be required by the Port Master.

Work Pass For Foreign Crew working on board MPA Licensed Harbour Craft

Foreign crew working on board the MPA licensed harbour craft must hold a valid work pass. Employers who hire foreigners without valid work passes can be prosecuted under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act. For more information, please visit the Ministry of Manpower website.

MediSave Contributions under Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board’s Self-Employed Scheme

Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board’s Self-Employed Scheme encourages self-employed persons (SEPs) to save for retirement and healthcare needs, in the absence of regular MediSave contributions from an employer. 

Under the Self-Employed Scheme, all SEPs who are Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents and earn an annual net trade income (NTI) of more than $6,000 need to contribute to MediSave. 

MPA will only process your licence application/renewal if your MediSave payable is up-to-date, that is, you have either paid your MediSave in full or have an active GIRO arrangement with CPF Board to settle your MediSave payable.

To find out more about the Self-Employed Scheme or check your MediSave payment status, visit

Enquiries for licensing matters of harbour craft licence

For enquiries for harbour craft licensing matters, you may contact our hotline 1800 272 7777 or e-mail us at For more information, you may refer to our licensing guidelines here.