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Singapore MPA suspends motor yacht for 'overcrowding'

by Channel News Asia 24 Jan 01:36 PST 26 December 2020

A vessel that was chartered for a social gathering has been temporarily suspended from operating, after a group of people was filmed “partying on a yacht” near Lazarus Island last month.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore said that the pleasure craft, ADVANT, will be suspended for 30 days on account of the 26 December incident. Someone was telling tales: this comes after MPA announced on 31 December that it had been informed of a video of "a group of people partying on a yacht".

Photos and videos of the incident circulating on social media showed about 10 people on the vessel, with some dancing and wearing Santa hats.

MPA said on Saturday that based on preliminary investigations, the vessel had been chartered for a social gathering and there was co-mingling among the individuals on board. "The number of passengers in a group on board the craft was more than the maximum group size of five that was allowed at the time," it said. Investigations are still ongoing and further action may be taken against individuals if they are found to have breached the law, said MPA. Under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020, individuals found to have committed an offence may be fined up to S$10,000, jailed up to six months, or both, for their first conviction.

Second or subsequent offences carry a maximum fine of S$20,000, imprisonment up to 12 months, or both. The craft or vessel may also have its licence suspended by MPA for up to 30 days, and the owner or operator be required to put in place a safe management plan to the satisfaction of MPA.

"MPA reminds all pleasure craft owners and operators to adhere strictly to the safe management plan they have submitted for their business operations, and play their part to keep the COVID-19 situation under control in Singapore," said the authority. "MPA takes a very serious view of any breach of safe management measures and will not hesitate to take the parties involved to task."

During Phase 2 of Singapore's reopening, a maximum limit of five people was imposed on gatherings outside the home. Singapore entered Phase 3 on 28 December, with social gatherings of up to eight people now allowed in public.

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