By Betheena Unite
Two ships of a logistics company will be converted into quarantine ships to isolate repatriated Filipino seafarers who are set to arrive this week, the Philippine Coast Guard said.
MV St. John Paul II and MV St. Anthony de Padua, ships of the 2GO Group Inc., were already inspected by the Department of Health (DOH), Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) Monday to determine if the vessels are fit for the purpose.
Currently docked at Pier 15 in Port Area, Manila, the two private ships are expected to start operation as quarantine ships this week with the arrival of approximately 400 repatriated Filipino seafarers onboard a Panama-flagged cruise ship, the Coast Guard said.
It was disclosed that the first quarantine ship will be utilized to isolate persons under investigation while the other ship will be a temporary facility for persons under monitoring, individuals who have traveled to COVID-19 affected countries, and/or those who show symptoms, but have no history of exposure.
The DOH will develop guidelines and procedures for the orderly operations of the quarantine ships including necessary health care, standard environment control, and daily hygiene protocols.
The PCG, on the other hand, shall enforce stringent maritime security and maritime safety measures of the two vessels that can cater up to 1,500 patients each.
The Coast Guard will also oversee the regular disinfection of ships, as well as the sufficient delivery of provisions such as medical supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE), medicines, food, and other necessities.
Meanwhile, the Eva Macapagal Terminal in Port Area, Manila was also inspected by concerned government agencies for its possible conversion to a temporary treatment facility that aims to decongest major COVID-19 hospitals in the National Capital Region.
The BRP Gabriela Silang, the Coast Guard’s largest ship, shall be utilized as a “transport ship” for medical supplies, PPE, medicines, as well as health workers and other frontliners to regional hospitals across the country.
According to Admiral Joel Garcia, Coast Guard commandant, BRP Gabriela Silang will arrive at the PCG National Headquarters after its first mission in the Middle East.
The PCG, Garcia said, is willing to designate the offshore patrol vessel as a quarantine ship, when the need arises. (Betheena Unite)#