SINGAPORE announced plans to vaccinate more than 10,000 frontline maritime workers against COVID-19 by the end of this month.

The Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore said the workers go onboard vessels at the port and come into contact with people from outside Singapore.

“this vaccination exercise is part of the national COVID-19 vaccination strategy to protect frontline personnel and their family members, as well as residents living in Singapore,” the authority said.

Frontline workers include port workers, harbour pilots, cargo officers, marine surveyors and marine superintendents who are required to work onboard ships in the port.

“They carry out essential works including navigation, refuelling, ship repair and maintenance, as well as operations to transfer cargos,” the authority said.

“Harbourcraft and ocean-going crew who are Singaporeans and long-term residents living in the community are also prioritised for vaccination. Together, these personnel play a major role in keeping the Port of Singapore open and ensuring the undisrupted flow of goods.”

Frontline maritime workers who have completed the full course of vaccination will be subject to fewer testing requirements.

MPA CEO Quah Ley Hoon said the vaccination program will provide an additional layer of protection and keep the community safe.

“We rely on our frontline maritime personnel for the transportation of what we need every day, including food, medical supplies, and consumer goods,” she said.

“We hope that the vaccination can give them peace of mind when they perform their work onboard ships.” The first maritime worker to be vaccinated was PSA Marine harbour pilot Loh Kah Wai, 55. He said, “The vaccination keeps me safe and enables me to do my job with less worry. It’s one more layer of protection, not just for me but for my fellow harbour pilots and my family”.