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Shipping and marine facilities on hiatus – Coronavirus spread among worker dormitories

In Singapore’s marine and offshore dormitories, foreign workers who were initially exempted from the government-imposed lockdown are now being confined to their living quarters. The great number of those in the foreign workforce creates a gap in the project activity for the shipping and marine facilities.

Across the country, contractors in the related industry sought clarification from the government after being granted special access to remain on duty and operational throughout the lockdown period that was intended to conclude on May 4th.

However, due to a pervasive spread of the coronavirus amongst the foreign workers, all repairs and upgrade units were informed to cease on-site operations until 4th May. Sembcorp Marine were notified of the halt which caused the initial confusion.

Per Upstream sources, the head of Sembmarine repairs and upgrades division, Alvin Gan mentioned that the approval to continue with on-site projects was terminated as the number of those infected continued to soar.

Gan continued that the hiatus in production is meant to “flatten the curve” or reduce the number of those infected due to transmission of the virus while reducing the risk of spreading amongst other workers that are on the vessel itself to safeguard its workforce as well as customers’ workforce.

Despite the assurance granted by Singapore’s Ministry & Industry that offshore and marine contractors were allowed to work, fast-forward to 24 hours later, a majority of foreign workers across the country were immediately told to stay home until the period of lockdown restriction which is 4 May.

The order to stay confined applies to workers in all companies, said Manpower Minister, Josephine Teo. The “circuit breaker” period applies even to those who have obtained a licence to operate under the circumstances earlier.

According to the Ministry of Health in Singapore, there was a combined total of 3,553 new patients who tested positive for Covid-19. Out of the total, 3,388 were workers staying in dormitories. Singaporean authorities have transported at least 10,000 foreign workers in the essential services to other housing. In Southeast Asia, Singapore leads the highest number of confirmed cases of coronavirus. These high number of cases can be attributed to widespread testing within the country, especially within the workers’ dormitories cluster. Currently, the lockdown period has been extended to 1 June.

 

Source: Upstream Online

 

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