Decision to Delay Entry of Foreign Ships Into Labuan Ports Stands

LABUAN: The decision to postpone the entry of all foreign ships into the Labuan port remains, said Deputy Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Santhara Kumar Ramanaidu.

“Referring to the statement issued by the Labuan Port Authority chairman Datuk P. Kamalanathan in the news portal MalaysiaKini stating that ‘Labuan Port will be reopened to foreign ships’ (July 23) is inaccurate.

“The Federal Territories COVID-19 Coordination and Management Centre (CCMCWP) meeting chaired by the Federal Territories Minister yesterday (July 23) has decided to uphold the decision of the committee made on July 16 to defer applications for all foreign merchant ship activities until the transition of the Federal Territory of Labuan from Phase One to Phase Two of the National Recovery Plan (PPN),” he said in a statement today.

He said the decision was made after taking into account that the COVID-19 situation in Labuan was still in the recovery stage and with the federal territory awaiting moving into PPN Phase Two.

“To ensure Labuan succeeds in PPN Phase Two, the meeting has given a directive to the Labuan Disaster Management Committee to tighten the existing COVID-19 controls, including around the island’s border, to ensure no COVID-19 attacks, especially from the variants of concern (VoC) such as the Lambda variant that could cause Labuan to return to a difficult situation like before,” Santhara said.

 He said local ships carrying essential goods for the local folks are still allowed to call at the Labuan port.

“International merchant ships that have an ‘urgent need’ (that is) in the interest of the country can be considered to enter the Labuan port. However, they must comply strictly with the SOPs, including the requirement of 21 days quarantine from the last port of call before permission to dock is considered,” he said.

Santhara also disclosed that the Labuan Disaster Management Committee has been working together with the Labuan Health Department to prepare SOPs, which would be finalised soon, governing shipping and oil and gas-related activities in preparation for the federal territory to move into PPN Phase Two.