The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is looking into a possible breach of Covid-19 safety measures on board a Royal Caribbean cruise.
A group of more than 10 men and women had gathered to take photos on Dec 20 and 21 while they were on the ship.
In the photos, which some of them had posted on their public Instagram accounts, members of the group were unmasked and standing less than 1m apart from one another.
Before Monday, social gatherings of more than five people were prohibited during phase two of Singapore’s reopening. Since then, with phase three kicking in, the rule has been eased, but gatherings of more than eight people are still not allowed.
Responding to queries from The Straits Times, Ms Annie Chang, STB’s director of cruise, said on Wednesday night that STB is aware of the alleged incident and is looking into the matter.
“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,” she said.
Cruise lines that do not comply with STB’s CruiseSafe penalty framework will be subject to penalties, which can include fines, suspension of sailings and having their CruiseSafe certification revoked.
A Royal Caribbean International spokesman acknowledged the incident, and added that it is investigating the matter. “The recent breach in safe distancing measures seems to have been an instance where a group gathered for some pictures,” said the cruise operator.
It reiterated that the same measures malls and restaurants abide by apply on board its cruises.
Royal Caribbean International added that its staff are trained to remind guests to comply with 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,” it said.
In a separate case, a video posted on Facebook showed 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 could be seen dancing. While none of them was wearing a mask, three could be seen with Christmas hats.
A spokesman for the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) 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.”