Welcome back: 1,000 Pinoy seafarers undergo mandatory quarantine at Manila port

Published April 13, 2021, 8:48 PM

by Ariel Fernandez

Maritime authorities have facilitated the arrival of an estimated 1,000 Filipino crew members aboard MV Norwegian Encore at the Port of Manila over the weekend.

The repatriated Filipino seafarers underwent profiling by the Department of Health (DOH) after the vessel docked at the port last Sunday, April 11, Port Manager Eligio P. Fortajada of Port Management Office (PMO) NCR-South said.

They will also undergo the mandatory quarantine and testing protocols set by the national government before their disembarkation. The vessel itself will be used as quarantine facility under the strict supervision of the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ).

Elements of the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) assisted the Filipino seamen through the One-Stop-Shop (OSS) for seafarers.

In accordance with the government’s crew change protocol, the seafarers shall undergo swab testing on the sixth day of their quarantine proper, to be handled by the PCG and the First Aide Molecular Laboratory. Doctors and nurses, who are all under the supervision of BOQ, will be on site to assist the seafarers.

Expenses for the swab tests will be subsidized through the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, also known as Republic Act (RA) No. 11494.

Under this law, the Philippine government allotted P270 million for the free reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing of returning Filipino seafarers as a way to alleviate the negative impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic to the seafaring industry.

The member-agencies of the OSS have assured the public that health and safety protocols would strictly be observed to manage threat of COVID-19.