CEBU CITY –The Cebu Port Authority (CPA) activated Cebu’s crew change hub, a one-stop shop (OSS) for crew change from domestic and foreign vessels for the port of Cebu, in ceremonies held Thursday which were attended by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) Undersecretary Raul Del Rosario and Assistant Secretary Narciso Vingson Jr.
During Thursday’s simulation, DOTr announced that, effective October 16, Cebu’s crew change hub will begin receiving requests for crew change from domestic and foreign vessels after establishing and finalizing all preparations and safety loops for crew change during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To mark the official activation of the country’s newest crew change hub, a launching ceremony will also be conducted on October 16 at the Cebu Port Crew Change Hub located at the Port of Cebu, Passenger Terminal 2 – Pier 3.
Other crew change hubs are at the Port of Manila, Port of Capinpin in Bataan, and at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.
“This is a milestone not just for the Port of Cebu, our maritime partners, our seafarers but also for Cebu, in general, as this is also seen to generate economic activities and revenues,” said CPA General Manager Leonilo Miole after DOTr approved the start of crew change operations for the hub.
Cebu’s crew change hub will cater to Filipino seafarers joining a ship docked in the Philippines for overseas (outbound), Filipino seafarers leaving a ship (inbound), foreign seafarers joining a ship docked in the Philippine seaport from the airport (airport to ship), and foreign seafarers leaving a ship docked in the Philippine seaport to an airport (ship to airport).
Miole assured the public that safety protocols were already in place to avoid transmission of COVID-19 during crew change. Based on the approved crew change protocol, Miole bared that all arriving vessels shall stay at the designated anchorage or docking site authorized by the CPA and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).
He added that disembarking seafarers must observe health and safety protocols such as disinfection, handwashing, social distancing and wearing of full personal protective equipment (PPE) – face mask, face shield, gloves and hazmat suit.
Miole added that, upon arrival at the OSS facility, seafarers must immediately proceed to the registration booth and undergo mandatory swab testing procedure.
After completing the OSS procedures, seafarers must immediately board their assigned vehicle bound to their designated quarantine facility approved by the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) while waiting for their swab test results.
For embarking seafarers, only those with negative COVID-19 test results and Certification of Containment shall be allowed to embark. Health and safety protocols must also be observed by all embarking crews.
DOTr said that it was activating crew change hubs in the country to give maritime vessels the avenue to refresh their manpower, and to facilitate the movement of seafarers serving beyond the limits.