MCO: Only Malaysians allowed to sign off onto local ports

by TMR / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

ONLY Malaysians are allowed to “sign off” their crew (ie allow them to get off the vessel) of any nationality into Malaysia for vessels from India docking in all local ports.

They would then be quarantined for 14 days in a government-designated station under strict procedures as decided by the Ministry of Health (MoH), according to Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (picture).

“On April 26, I 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 strategies to prevent Covid-19 variants originating in the Republic of India from entering Malaysia.

These strategies were enforced from April 28, 2021,” Wee said in a statement on Saturday.

Among other standard operating procedures (SOPs) to prevent the spread of Covid-19 include:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 MoH approval.
  3. 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.
  4. Ship pilots who are essential in piloting vessels to Malaysian docks must do so strictly based on the SOPs and wearing PPE including face shields and aprons.
  5. Cargo handling on all foreign vessels from all origins in all ports are allowed based on SOPs directed by MoH and permissions by JLM and the respective port authority.

Wee added that 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.