Joint MPA-EDB-SFA-STB Media Release: COVID-19 Vaccinations for Eligible Groups of Foreign Sea Crew in Singapore

30 August 2021

    As part of our overall plan to strengthen the resilience of the community against COVID-19 and activities in our port waters against the pandemic, Singapore will be rolling out the Sea Crew Vaccination Initiative or SEAVAX to allow eligible groups of non-resident foreign sea crew to be vaccinated. Vaccinating sea crew will provide an additional layer of protection for onshore workers and passengers who may interact with them. This was announced by Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State for Transport, at the opening of this year’s International Safety@Sea Week.

2  Singapore is one of the first countries to vaccinate maritime workers and local seafarers as early as January 2021.  To date, more than 90% of Singapore’s maritime workers and seafarers are fully vaccinated. In particular, 89% of the 7,500 resident seafarers working in Singapore’s port waters have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 82% of them have been fully vaccinated. 

3   As a major transhipment and bunkering hub in one of the world’s major shipping lanes, Singapore will play our part in the global initiative to vaccinate seafarers. Under the new SEAVAX initiative, eligible groups of non-resident foreign sea crew will be offered COVID-19 vaccination on a voluntary basis from 30 August 2021. These include:
  • Sea crew in Singapore with stays of more than 30 days, who work on board homeported cruise ships, ships under repair in shipyards, and yachts at marinas used for events, cruises and private charter. 
  • Sea crew who work on board fishing vessels, ship supply vessels and regional ferries which enter and leave our waters at least once a month. They provide essential services such as provision of ship supplies, transportation of food and raw materials, as well as ferrying passengers. 

4   The Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines will be offered to eligible foreign sea crew, subject to availability. They can receive their vaccinations at designated sites that will be set up close to them. Companies or individuals should be prepared to pay for the vaccination services.

5   Over the next few weeks, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) and Singapore Tourism Board (STB) will reach out to the companies involved to schedule the vaccinations. There will be strict enforcement to ensure that only eligible sea crew are scheduled for vaccination

6   Companies with eligible foreign sea crew who have not been informed by their respective agencies by 30 September may request for vaccination by sending supporting documentation to the agencies. For yachts, ship supply vessels and regional ferries, companies can contact MPA at vaccinate@mpa.gov.sg, and for fishing vessels, companies can contact SFA at SFA_FET@sfa.gov.sg.

7   Sea crew are the backbone of global trade. Singapore continues to facilitate crew change to help sea crew who are still onboard vessels beyond their contract duration. Since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, Singapore has facilitated more than 160,000 crew changes, both sign-on and sign-offs. As the lead of the Singapore Shipping Tripartite Alliance Resilience (SG-STAR) Fund [1], the Singapore Shipping Association is also working on an industry proposal to vaccinate ocean-going seafarers when they sign-on to their vessels in Singapore, as part of the crew change process.

 [1] The Singapore-based, SG-STAR Fund is the first global tripartite initiative that brings together like-minded international partners from the maritime industry, unions and governments to facilitate safe crew changes.