Crew change (harbour craft)

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) recognises the critical role that harbour craft  crew play in supporting operations in the Port of Singapore. The harbour craft sector provides transport, towage and bunkering services, as well as transporting stores to ships in the port.

With that in mind, MPA has been facilitating crew change and disembarkation request for harbour craft work permit holders under various circumstances. The crew change regime has also been enhanced along the way to ensure the well-being of crew members and to enable crew to conduct their onboard duties in a safe manner.

Crew Change Application for Sign-On and Sign-Off (Click Here)
Crew Disembarkation Request (Click Here)
Crew Disembarkation for Vaccination Request (Click Here)

Please note that submission of crew change application must be made at least 14 days in advance. Crew disembarkation requests are to be submitted at least 3 days in advance.

Vaccination Requirements for Harbour Craft Crew
The COVID-19 vaccination programme seeks to protect us against COVID-19, as well as to protect businesses and jobs through the progressive re-opening of Singapore. The vaccine is free for all Singaporeans and long-term residents. Companies are to ensure that their crew are fully vaccinated as soon as possible.

Crew who are fully vaccinated in Singapore will have their vaccination records ingested into the National Immunisation Registry. For crew who are fully vaccinated overseas, please refer to Table 1 below for information on updating of vaccination records.

Table 1: Updating of vaccination records

Fully Vaccinated Overseas
  • Take a serology test at a Public Health Preparedness Clinic to confirm your vaccination status. Once positive (i.e. you have antibodies), your overseas vaccination records will be uploaded into HealthHub (HH) and TraceTogether app.
  • If you took a Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty or Moderna vaccine, this update will take about two days after your medical provider has submitted the details into the National Immunisation Registry
  • If you took other WHO EUL vaccines (eg AstraZeneca, Janssen, Sinopharm, Sinovac), the records will be reflected on HH app for now.

Partially Vaccinated Overseas
  • If the crew is only vaccinated with one dose of Sinopharm or Sinovac, company can either arrange for crew to go to clinics that offer these vaccines for their second dose or go to vaccination centres that offer Moderna and undergo two doses of Moderna to be considered fully vaccinated. Do note that currently only Sinovac and Sinopharm are available to be administered by private clinics and cost of these vaccines will not be borne by the government. 
  • Crew who are partially vaccinated with other WHO-EUL vaccines such as AstraZeneca and Janssen will need to receive 2 doses of Moderna to be considered fully vaccinated. Company can arrange for crew to go to vaccination centres offering Moderna vaccine for their vaccination. 
  • For existing work permit holders, the crew are eligible for walk-in vaccination, and there is no requirement to make an appointment.



As per the FAQs addressed by Singapore's Ministry of Health (MOH), individuals who have had an earlier COVID-19 infection, and have recovered, are recommended to receive a single dose of vaccine no earlier than 3 months after the date of their diagnosis if they had not already completed vaccination previously.

Crew Sign-On
Sign-on crew will undergo an enhanced isolation regime comprising 14-day isolation with enhanced testing regime at CrewSafe facilities in country of domicile, and a further 10-day SHN with enhanced testing in Singapore. All crew entering Singapore should be fully vaccinated. Please refer to Table 2 for the enhanced harbour craft crew sign-on requirements.

Table 2: Enhanced harbour craft crew sign-on requirements

Requirements in country of domicile
  • Pre-entry COVID-19 PCR test (Pre-entry negative PCR test is to be provided to MPA prior to crew’s transit and check-in to the CrewSafe facility.)
  • 14-day SHN in CrewSafe certified hotels (This is mandatory for crew residing in countries with such facilities)
  • Entry (D1) and exit (D13/14) COVID-19 PCR tests. Upon check-in at CrewSafe hotel/facility, crew to take D1 entry PCR test to commence 14 days isolation. The exit test must be taken within 24 to 48 hours prior to departure from their country of domicile entering Singapore
  • ART on D5 and D7 
  • ART and PCR tests must be conducted at the hotel by whitelisted clinics
  • Bubble wrapped ground transport from hotel to departure
  • Companies to appoint a local agent or representative who is responsible to monitor and ensure each sign-on crew complies with the entire SHN process, including testing requirements, in CrewSafe facilities at the country of domicile

Requirements in Singapore
  • 10-day SHN at SDF Hotel with prevailing testing regime/protocols based on the country/region category the crew comes from. Please refer to below for details.

Crew entering from Category III country

  • 10-day SHN at a SHN hotel. The list of SHN hotels can be found on SHA’s website as follows: https://sha.org.sg/stay-home-notice. Companies must make your own hotel booking and declare the place of accommodation for SHN in the STO application. During the 10 days SHN in Singapore, the crew must remain in the declared SHN hotel and must don an electronic monitoring device throughout their SHN period.
  • Dedicated transport from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal (TMFT) to the declared SHN hotel. All crew shall be transferred directly from TMFT arrival hall to the declared SHN hotel without any detour. Companies are to ensure that the appointed driver wears full PPE (full body gown, face shield, gloves and mask) and that the transport is ready and waiting at TMFT arrival hall at 1.30pm so that the crew can depart immediately upon immigration. Please refer to Port Marine Circular No. 39 of 2021, paras 11 to 16 on the requirements for transport driver facilitating crew change.
  • Day 10 SHN exit PCR test. Companies to self-arrange dedicated transport for point-to-point transfer of crew from SHN hotel to the clinic and back to the hotel immediately after completion of the PCR test.

Example of how to count the start and end of 10D SHN
Traveller C arrived in Singapore on 7 October 2021. His SHN will start with immediate effect on 7 October 2021, and end on 17 October 2021, after his COVID-19 test results are released, before exiting SHN.

Crew entering from Category IV country
  • 10-day SHN at dedicated SHN facility
  • Day 10 SHN exit PCR test



Usage of CrewSafe accredited facility

The Singapore Shipping Tripartite Alliance Resilience Fund Taskforce (SFTF) has developed a CrewSafe audit programme that endeavours to assist crew source nations to bring a higher level of confidence and quality control checks into crew change processes such as quarantine/holding, medical and swabbing facilities. Please refer to this link for more information regarding the CrewSafe audit programme and a list of CrewSafe accredited facilities.

Crew Sign-Off
For crew sign-off for harbour craft work permit holders, the submission of sign-off application is to be made via the above Crew Change Application form 14 days prior to the intended date of sign-off. The following documents would need to be prepared for submission to MPA harbour craft crew change team:
  • Copy of crew’s passport
  • Copy of crew’s work permit
  • Copy of crew’s contract
  • Automatic reply of crew change application form
Upon issuance of In-Principle Approval, further documents (fit-to-travel certificate, PCR test result (if applicable i.e Pre-Departure Test (PDT) required), ferry/flight ticket) are to be submitted to MPA harbour craft crew change team 24 hours prior to scheduled sign-off date. The company would need to check the latest information from the relevant embassies for pre-departure testing requirements. Final Approval will be issued once the company has met all terms and submitted the required documents stated in the In-Principle Approval. 

Crew Disembarkation Request
Crew disembarkation for harbour craft work permit holders is only allowed for essential reasons such as work permit renewal, vaccination and to seek medical care. Company is to submit such request at least 3 days in advance. Following your crew disembarkation request, after MPA has provided our no-objection via email, you must forward the email to PHO (Port_Health_CRO@nea.gov.sg) and ICA (ICA_CREW_Administrator@ica.gov.sg) to seek their consent for the disembarkation.

Photo evidence of crews’ completed ART test done within 24 houes prior to disembarkation and the Medical Declaration of Health will need to be submitted prior to disembarkation. Exceptions are granted in cases of crew requiring urgent medical attention but please continue to notify MPA of such crew disembarkation via hc_crew@mpa.gov.sg and pms@mpa.gov.sg.

Fast and Easy Testing Rostered Routine Testing
As we progressively transit into the endemic phase of Covid-19, we will move towards the Fast and Easy Testing (FET) Rostered Routine Testing (RRT) regime from 1 November 2021 onwards.

The FET RRT will replace the existing PCR RRT testing frequency and there will be no further need for maritime workers and port users to undergo regular Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing as Antigen Rapid Tests (ART) will be used instead. The testing cycles for the different categories of harbour craft crew are summarised in Table 3 below. We note that Construction, Marine shipyard and Process (CMP) sector work permit holders and reclamation work permit holders have already transitioned to the new FET-RRT regime on 15 October 2021.

Table 3: Categories of Harbour Craft Crew (Singaporeans, PRs and Foreign Work Permit Holders) and Frequency of FET RRT

Category of Individuals Vaccination Status Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7
Previously on at least 7D PCR RRT] To be on 3D FET RRT [No more PCR]
  • Harbour craft crew who are Singaporeans/PRs that reside in the community
  • Harbour craft work permit holders with shore-based residential address
  • Harbour craft work permit holders who are frontline personnel (i.e. launch boat Captain/crew) and resides onboard the craft

Both vaccinated and unvaccinated
FET

FET

[Previously on 7D ART] To be on  (7D FET RRT) – same regime 

Harbour craft crew deployed on board harbour craft who are long term permit holders and whose registered residential address is a harbour craft






Vaccinated FET

Unvaccinated (3D FET RRT)
(Medically Ineligible)

FET

FET

Unvaccinated (3D FET RRT#)
(Medically Eligible)

FET

FET#


#funded by individual or employer/company

Under the Employer-Supervised Self Swab (ESSS) programme, all ART kits will be provided and delivered to employers free of charge until 31 December 2021 except for unvaccinated medically eligible harbour crew deployed on board harbour craft who are long term work permit holders and whose residential address is a harbour craft. They will only be partially subsidised under ESSS until 31 December 2021 (i.e. of the two ART tests required per week under FET RRT, only one ART test will be subsidised and the other ART test will be self-funded or funded by the employer). Non-ESSS tests are to be borne by individual/company from 1 November 2021.

Requirements for Companies conducting Employer-Led Supervised Self-Swab (ESSS)
Companies are strongly encouraged to enrol into the ESSS at the Workplace Programme whereby employees will swab themselves under the supervision of a trained staff. This can be done on-site or virtually. To support companies that are conducting ESSS, the Government will be extending the subsidy for ESSS for training and ART test kits until 31 December 2021. Please refer to www.go.gov.sg/mpa-esss-guide for details on the ESSS programme. Due to the strong demand for ESSS Training and ESSS ART Test Kits, you are strongly encouraged to apply for the training and ART kits as soon as possible, if you have not already done so.

Companies are required to upload the test results obtained by their employees from ESSS onto Swab Registration System (SRS) in accordance with the following:
  1. If the test result is positive i.e  “AG+”, companies are to upload the test result of that employee onto SRS no later than 30 minutes after the ESSS for that specific employee is completed.
  2. If the test result is negative i.e “AG-”, companies are to upload the test result of that employee onto SRS as soon as possible but no later than 24 hours after the ESSS for that specific employee is completed.
Where workers have obtained ‘AG+’ test results while conducting ESSS, companies are to abide by the prevailing AG+ management protocol for such cases that are set out on the MOH website. The follow-up ART test does not need to be carried out under supervision and the results do not need to be uploaded to SRS. Companies are to use self-funded ART test kits which are approved by MOH for the follow-up ART test and not those that have been supplied by the Government for the purpose of the ESSS. If an “AG+” result is submitted for an employee onto the SRS by mistake, companies must use this form to submit the details and updated result of the employee.

Companies using the ART test kits supplied by the Government for the purpose of ESSS are not allowed to distribute, supply or sell them to any third-party. These ART test kits must be properly accounted for and used only for the approved purpose. Companies need to ensure that employees use the test kits for RRT only, unless the test result is AG invalid and a re-test needs to be done.

Companies should be prepared to factor in all ESSS and testing costs into their normal business operations from 1 January 2022 onwards when the subsidy ends.

Please note that there will be no exemption or exception allowed from the testing regime. Failure to comply with the requirements may result in a breach of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (Harbour Craft) Regulations.

Please contact us at hc_crew@mpa.gov.sg if you have further queries.

Useful documents