In a recent facebook post, Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) announced the latest guidelines on the conduct of crew change activities in the Philippines. As per the guidelines, PPA declared that the crew change for foreign nationals from the vessels will be disallowed from 30 December 2020 to 15 January 2021 from an initial list of 20 countries at its crew change facilities including those in Manila South Harbor, Port Capinpin in Orion, Bataan, Port of Sasa in Davao and Port of Batangas.
As per PPA, the restriction on crew change from vessels coming from these countries is a part of the “country’s bid to prevent the entry of the new Covid-19 strain through the country’s ports”.
List of Flagged Countries:
Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and United Kingdom.
This is an initial list, further countries can be added to the list of flagged countries at a later stage.
Filipino seafarers returning to the country will face similar restrictions if they have been in any of the listed countries in the past 14 days. They too can only return to Manila and will be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine at a designated quarantine facility, regardless of having a negative RT-PCR Test.
Seafarers regardless of nationality that have not been to any of the flagged countries in the past 14-days can continue to enter the Philippines. They will still have to follow the Philippines’ current health protocols that require testing and restricted movements.
The move by the Philippines will be a major jolt to the desperate seafarers who have been working on extended contracts and were looking forward to return to their home.