Extra $3.5m to prop up maritime sector; existing support measures extended further

The money is being given out under the MaritimeSG Together Package, which was introduced last May.
The money is being given out under the MaritimeSG Together Package, which was introduced last May.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - The maritime sector will get an extra $3.5 million in Covid-19 support, while relief measures that were set to expire this month have also been extended until the end of this year.

This is to help prop up the hard-hit sector, said the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) in a statement on Wednesday (June 30).

The money is being given out under the MaritimeSG Together Package, which was introduced in May 2020 and extended for the first time in January. The latest extension brings the cumulative amount of support to more than $36 million.

As part of the package, MPA is introducing a new $3 million recovery grant for regional ferry service operators, as well as regional ferry terminal operator Singapore Cruise Centre.

Firms can apply for grants to set up projects that improve the implementation of safe management measures for safe sea travels. Companies in this sector will also get a 50 per cent rebate on their office rentals from July 1 to Dec 31.

MPA will also several extend existing support measures in other areas.

These include support for passenger ships, and passenger terminal operators Sats-Creuers Cruise Services and Singapore Cruise Centre.

Port dues concessions for offshore vessel operators will continue and credit terms for maritime companies will be extended.

On the manpower front, schemes to encourage firms and individuals to upskill will be extended, as will the Seafarers Relief Package for Singaporeans who face difficulties in securing shipboard employment.

"As Covid-19 is set to become endemic, Maritime Singapore must continue to build its safe management and manpower capabilities to remain resilient," said MPA chief executive Quah Ley Hoon, referring to the maritime industry.

At present, front-line port and regional ferry terminal workers are required to undergo rostered routine testing every seven days, with an additional antigen rapid test (ART) done on the third or fourth day of each cycle.

To ease the financial burden on companies and individuals, MPA will fully subsidise the cost of mandatory rapid tests for high-risk maritime workers from July 5 to Aug 31, provided that tests are done at appointed medical service providers.

It also urged employers to join the Employer-Supervised Self Swab programme, under which workers will swab themselves under the supervision of a trained member of staff. The Government has said it will pay for training and ART kits under the scheme for various sectors until Sept 30, following which companies and individuals will have to foot the bill.