In order to stem Covid-19 cases, vessels from India docking in all Malaysian ports are not allowed to “sign off” their crew of any nationality into Malaysia during the nationwide movement control order (MCO) from May 12 to June 7, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.
He said exceptions are made only for Malaysian citizens, who need to be quarantined for 14 days in a government-designated station under strict procedures as decided by the Ministry of Health (MoH).
He said the ministry acknowledges public concerns with regard to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) governing shipping activities and port activities.
Wee said that on April 26, he 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 (MKN) strategies to prevent Covid-19 variants originating in India from entering Malaysia, which were enforced from April 28.
“JLM is also in communication with all related port authorities to relay the do’s and don’ts of the SOPs to all vessels operating in Malaysia. They will govern matters such as crew changes, ship-shore interactions and prohibited activities, among others,” he said in a statement here today.
Wee said the SOPs directed by the MoH and MKN to prevent Covid-19 transmission that govern shipping activities at ports nationwide are also in place.
Among the directives are that vessels with Covid-19 symptoms detected on board as determined by the MoH 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.
Wee said all dock workers must use MoH-approved personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face masks and disposable latex gloves, when working on vessels. Non-dock workers are not allowed to enter any vessels docked at Malaysian ports without the MoH’s approval.
Besides that, all cargo operations, on deck or in cargo holds, may be carried out by dock workers, such as for lashing and stevedoring, without interacting with ship crew.
Wee said ship pilots who are essential in piloting vessels to Malaysian docks must do so based strictly on the SOPs and wearing PPE, including face shields and PPE aprons.
Cargo handling on all foreign vessels from all origins in all ports are allowed based on the SOPs directed by the MoH and according to operating procedures and permissions by JLM and the respective port authority.
Wee said the ministry continues to strictly enforce the Covid-19 prevention SOPs, and will continue to abide by MKN and the MoH’s decisions to impose stricter restrictions and enhance the SOPs 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.