Singapore’s Sembcorp Marine is having to contend with yet another outbreak of coronavirus among its workers amid a backdrop of logistical challenges.

Not only have a number of Sembmarine’s workforce again been stricken by the potentially fatal disease, the offshore and marine contractor is having to deal with a social media storm of complaints from some of those impacted.

The latest outbreak centres on Westlite’s 3400-bed Jalan Tukang Dormitory, where some 1400 Sembmarine workers are housed as its own dormitories are at full capacity.

The main issue for these migrant workers is the time it has taken for Covid-positive residents to be moved from the dormitory to a care or recovery facility. Meanwhile, others have vented their frustration about the allegedly inedible food being served.

“The company has taken immediate steps to address complaints of lack of hygiene in the food served and unsatisfactory food quality; and apologises to its workers at the Tukang Dorm and continues to engage them on their concerns,” said Sembmarine.

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The contractor on Friday added that, as of the prior evening, all its workers whose Covid-19 antigen rapid test (ART) results were positive had been moved to a care or recovery facility.

“As part of the safe management measures, they are required to undergo mandatory routine Covid-19 testing. This testing, using ART kits or PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests, is undertaken at Sembcorp Marine work sites,” said Sembmarine.

“The current protocol for workers residing at the Tukang Dorm is that those who test positive are isolated from other dormitory residents, before they are moved to a care or recovery facility.”

However, unfortunately, due to the large numbers, there were delays in conveyance to recovery and healthcare facilities, admitted Sembmarine.

“This led to great unhappiness among both the Covid-positive workers as well as those who tested negative.”

The contractor, which is experiencing significant delays to many of its fabrication projects after earlier Covid outbreaks at its Singapore facilities and pandemic-related supply chain problems, said it would continue with its regular testing regime.

“The safety and wellbeing of our workers are our foremost concern. We have taken measures to protect their health and safety, and will continue to do so,” said Sembmarine.

The offshore and marine contractor added it had taken the Tukang Dorm’s

caterer to task and has insisted on strict adherence to hygiene standards, as well as timeliness of the food delivery.

All 1400 Sembmarine migrant workers residing at the dorm were vaccinated against Covid-19 in their home country prior to their arrival in Singapore.

Under current Singapore health protocols, individuals who have received their vaccination overseas, including migrant workers, are required to undergo a verification process of their vaccination status after they enter the city state.

This process requires individuals to both show documentary proof of their overseas vaccination and provide a positive serology test result from an approved medical provider in Singapore.

Sembmarine on Saturday explained that, as its 1400 workers at Tukang Dorm were recent arrivals, their vaccination verification process is ongoing.

As of 16 October, approximately 43% of these workers have had their vaccination status records updated in the National Immunisation Registry. Of the 1400 workers, 56% have undergone serology tests.