2 cases of large groups breaching Covid-19 measures on cruise ship and yacht under probe

Samuel Devaraj
The New Paper
Dec 31, 2020

Twelve people allegedly posed for photographs in close proximity without wearing masks, breaching safe distancing rules, while on a cruise ship recently.

A reader who tipped off The New Paper said their social media activity indicated that they boarded the Royal Caribbean cruise on Dec 17.

Two photos posted on Instagram on Dec 21 show the group posing together - one in a group of 11 and another in a group of 12 - allegedly violating the rule of five that was in effect during phase two, which ended on Sunday.

The reader, who also informed the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) about the alleged breach, told TNP: "It was disappointing that this group of individuals behaved so irresponsibly when we have front-liners, healthcare workers and many others working so hard to keep Covid-19 at bay."

Ms Annie Chang, director of cruise at STB, said the agency is aware of the alleged incident and is looking into it.

Ms Chang said: "We take a serious view of any breach in safe management measures on cruises departing from Singapore.

"The safety of passengers and crew is our priority, and regular on-board inspections are conducted during sailings to ensure compliance with all prevailing safe management measures."

The measures include ensuring the maximum prevailing group size is not exceeded, no intermingling among different groups and that passengers wear a mask.

Ms Angie Stephen, managing director for Asia-Pacific at Royal Caribbean Group, said it is investigating the case, which allegedly took place on board one of its cruise ships.

Ms Stephen said: "We have clear demarcations throughout the ship and other posted signage in place. In addition, our crew members are trained to remind guests to comply with the health and safety regulations on board.

"We would like to remind our guests that any failure to comply with the rules will lead to enforcement action, including being denied boarding or removal from the ship."

In a separate case, a video posted on Facebook shows a group of 10 people in close proximity on board a yacht.

The user who posted the video last Saturday said it was taken near Lazarus Island on the same day.

In the 15-second video, the group of men and women can be seen dancing. While none of them was wearing a mask, three can be seen with Christmas hats.

A spokesman for The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore said it has been informed of the video and is investigating.

The spokesman added: "MPA takes a serious view of any breach of Covid-19 regulations and will not hesitate to take action against such breaches.

"MPA regularly patrols our waters. We urge the public, as well as vessel owners and operators, to be responsible and comply with all Covid-19 safe management measures including wearing a mask, and adhering to passenger limits on board pleasure crafts."

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