PCG seals off ship from India as some crewmen test positive for COVID

Published May 11, 2021, 2:10 PM

by Richa Noriega

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has heightened the routine maritime patrols near the MV Athens Bridge from India to ensure the safety and security of the remaining Filipino crew members as some of them tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Among the 21 Filipino crew on board the vessel, 12 of them tested positive for COVID-19. Two of those who tested positive were hospitalized.

The cargo vessel arrived in the country on Thursday, May 6, and is currently anchored round 10 kilometers or 5.4 nautical miles away from Cavite shore.

(Photo courtesy of the PCG)

The PCG restricted other sea vessels from going near the vessel to prevent the spread of the viral disease, what with concerns that those who tested positive would bring in the India variant.

Captain Jeffrey Solon, officer-in-charge of Marina Office of the Deputy Administrator for Planning, said two more of the crew members had difficulty breathing but were stabilized in the hospital.

“The two of the four hospitalized have shown progression of the COVID-19 symptoms and now strictly being monitored. The other two are recovering but still being monitored. The result of what variant, we are still awaiting information,” Solon told the Manila Bulletin on Tuesday, May 11.

Solon said in total four of the 12 seafarers who tested positive for COVID-19 were hospitalized, while the remaining eight were in a quarantine facility and “doing good.”

The remaining nine other crew members are aboard the vessel on quarantine and set to disembark on Friday, May 14, and to be isolated in a hotel for 10 days.

(Photo courtesy of the PCG)

“The relievers will board the vessel starting May 14 and those on board are all doing fine and not showing any symptoms,” Solon said.

The Panama-flagged cargo vessel departed from India on April 22 and arrived in Haiphong, Vietnam on May 1. There, all of its personnel were subjected to a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.

It was later found out that 12 of the 21 crew members aboard the ship got infected with the COVID-19.

The PCG said it received a request from the vessel’s captain on Thursday, May 6, to execute a medical evacuation of two crew members who both needed urgent medical care. The vessel, at that time, was located 12 nautical miles west of Corregidor Island in Manila Bay.

The PCG has delivered at least 10 oxygen tanks and transported the two critical crew members to a hospital for further assistance on Friday, May 7.