Coronavirus Singapore

Safe management measures beefed up for trips to islands

Visitors leaving Pulau Ubin for Changi Point Ferry Terminal. In the foreground is a sign from the National Parks Board reminding visitors to adhere to safe distancing measures.
Visitors leaving Pulau Ubin for Changi Point Ferry Terminal. In the foreground is a sign from the National Parks Board reminding visitors to adhere to safe distancing measures. ST PHOTO: JOEL CHAN

With more visitors heading to the Southern Islands and Pulau Ubin in recent months, more safe management measures have been put in place at the Marina South Pier and Changi Point Ferry Terminal, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said yesterday.

These include deploying safe distancing ambassadors to remind visitors to stay sufficiently apart, setting up dedicated queue lines for areas with more traffic such as the departure waiting hall and jetty areas, as well as increasing berth usage at Marina South Pier during the weekend peak periods to cater for the increased number of ferry trips.

This would alleviate overcrowding, given the larger number of weekend passengers departing for the Southern Islands after restrictions on international travel kicked in due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

MPA also reminded people who participate in recreational activities at sea to be aware of the potential dangers such as strong waves and currents, deep drop-offs, underwater hazards and watercraft in the vicinity, noting recent incidents involving visitors to the Southern Islands.

Earlier this month, a 41-year-old man was found dead after snorkelling alone near the Sisters' Islands Marine Park. The man was reportedly with his family when he visited the islands.

Beachgoers should swim only in areas manned by lifeguards or within areas marked for swimming, said MPA.

Singapore is also in the midst of the monsoon season, which is expected to end in early March.

"Particularly, from December this year to early January next year, monsoon surges are expected to cause widespread continuous moderate-to-heavy rain, with strong winds and choppy seas that can increase risks at sea," said MPA, reminding port users and the public to stay safe at sea during the year-end holiday season.

A number of safety measures have been put in place during this period, including checks by MPA inspectors on ferries to ensure that on-board firefighting and life-saving appliances are in good working condition.

Advisories have also been sent to owners and operators of port facilities and ferries to stay alert for security threats, and to ensure that ship crew are familiar with safety measures such as the location of emergency exits.

Contractors involved in marine projects such as the development of Tuas Port, as well as land reclamation at Tuas West Coast and Pulau Tekong, have been reminded to exercise due diligence to prevent workplace accidents.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 25, 2020, with the headline 'Safe management measures beefed up for trips to islands'. Subscribe