Dr Wee: Foreign crew of vessels originating from India not allowed to sign off

PETALING JAYA: Foreign crew of vessels docking at all Malaysian ports originating from India are not allowed to “sign off” (disembark upon end of contract) during the current movement control order, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (pic).

The Transport Minister, however, said that exceptions were made only for Malaysian citizens who would then be quarantined for 14 days in a government-designated station under strict procedures as decided by the Health Ministry (MOH).

Acknowledging public concerns with regards to standard operating procedures (SOPs) regarding shipping activities at port activities, Dr Wee said that he had on April 26 chaired a video conference with the Marine Department of Malaysia (JLM) and various port authorities under the Ministry’s purview to relay the National Security Council’s (NSC) strategies to prevent Covid-19 variants originating in India from entering Malaysia.

He said these strategies were enforced from April 28.

Dr Wee said that vessels where Covid-19 symptoms have been detected on board as determined by the Health Ministry through the Maritime Declaration of Health must undergo a 14-day quarantine.

"Otherwise, all vessels including those originating from India do not need to be quarantined at sea, so long as they receive the MOH’s permission to dock," Dr Wee said in a statement on Saturday (May 15).

Dr Wee also said all dock workers must use MOH-approved personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face masks and disposable latex gloves when working on vessels, while non-dock workers are not allowed to enter any vessels docked at Malaysian ports without MOH's approval.

He added that all cargo operations, on deck or in cargo holds, may be carried out by dock workers without interacting with ship crew while ship pilots who are essential in piloting vessels to Malaysian docks must do so based strictly on the SOP and wearing PPE including face shields and PPE aprons.

Dr Wee also said that cargo handling on all foreign vessels from all origins in all ports are allowed based on SOPs directed by MOH and according to operating procedures and permission by JLM and the respective port authorities.

He said that the JLM is also in communication with all related port authorities to relay the "dos and don’ts" of SOPs to all vessels operating in Malaysia.

He said they will govern matters such as crew changes, ship-shore interactions, prohibited activities, among others.

"The Ministry continues to strictly enforce Covid-19 prevention SOP and will continue to abide by NSC and MOH's decisions to impose stricter restrictions or enhance the SOP from time to time, should the need arise.

"We are also committed to continuous improvements in the Ministry’s mission to ensure safety, security, and sustainability in the transport and logistics sectors of the country," he said.

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