Singapore has been recognized for its strict handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that hasn’t slowed the pace of the Singapore office of International Registries, Inc. and its affiliates (IRI).
“Thanks to our close working relationships with local authorities, we’ve been able to maintain the flow of goods and services through Singapore and assist in facilitate crew changes,” said Shawn Tan, Country Manager of IRI’s Singapore office.
An important hub for maritime activity, Singapore was one of the first countries to develop a framework for safe crew change during the pandemic. Although crew change continues to be a challenge worldwide, the Singapore office has been able to provide critical local information and support local crew change for operators of Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) flagged vessels.
“We’ve worked closely with several of our regional offices and RMI operators to facilitate crew change in collaboration with the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA). The nature of the pandemic means that guidelines and protocols change frequently, sometimes before things can be publicly published or disseminated. We’re able to provide our owners and operators worldwide with the local knowledge and guidance regarding crew change in Singapore,” Shawn noted.
The RMI Registry’s local flag State Inspector has been conducting both remote and physical inspections in Singapore in accordance with guidance from MPA and local authorities. Regular and aggressive COVID-19 testing and strict adherence to protocols has been critical in moving from remote to physical inspections while protecting crew. Singapore moved to allow primarily physical inspections since July 2020, a welcome sign in these difficult times.
“Remote inspections are a fantastic tool for our inspectors and owners, but nothing can replace physically being together on a vessel, passing along best practices and learning from each other,” said Shawn.
As the initial waves of COVID-19 spread across Asia prompting travel and movement restrictions, IRI offices transitioned operations and processes between the various regions to ensure clients’ needs were met. The Registry also implemented procedures and protocols for electronic transactions and issued electronic certificates. This facilitated business and served to increase the ability of all offices to facilitate transactions. In fact, issuing electronic certificates and acceptance of electronic transactions allowed the Singapore office to increase vessel registrations by nearly 50% in 2020.
“I’m very proud of our team,” continued Shawn. “We’ve been working remotely and at 50% in the office for many months. Our team remains focused on not only supporting immediate client needs, but on continual improvement which includes adapting and using new tools to enhance our business and that of our clients.”
The latest information on crew change from the MPA can be found on our COVID-19 page: http://register-iri.com/COVID-19.