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Gov issues new EO for seafarers’ return 
By: Mylen Manto | Published Thursday, October 15, 2020
Executive Order No. 27 issued on October 13, 2020 sets the new protocols and guidelines for returning seafarers and crew change in harmony with the Philippine Green Lane established by the national government.

New guidelines are in for returning seafarers and crew change who are residents of Cebu Province.

Governor Gwendolyn Garcia issued Executive Order (EO) 27 on Tuesday, October 13 harmonizing the Province’s guidelines with the Philippine Green Lane established for their speedy and smooth return and crew change.

“There is a need to streamline the procedure by providing protocols and guidelines for the entry of seafarers into the Province of Cebu from the City and vice-versa,” read the EO.

In a meeting with the Cebu Port Authority (CPA) 7, Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) 7, Philippine Coastguard (PCG) 7, and League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) Cebu President and Liloan Mayor Christina Frasco on Tuesday, Garcia emphasized the need to define the protocols to avoid any inconvenience when seafarers return to their home local government units (LGU).

The governor required a letter of acceptance from the receiving LGU to which Frasco agreed to avoid any problems when the seafarers return home since Covid-19 may still be around and residents may feel uneasy about the seafarers’ arrival.

Protocol

Under the EO, all arriving vessels must stay in the designated anchorage or docking site authorized by the CPA and PCG. Existing CPA procedures for anchorage must be observed as well.

The Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) will board the ship to assess the health condition of the vessel, conduct a thermal scan of the crew, check the required documents, and other health and safety protocols.

Those who exhibit Covid-19 symptoms will immediately be extracted from the shipping vessel and transferred to an isolation center.

Cleared seafarers will then proceed to the triage facility for registration so they can complete the e-arrival forms at the One-Stop Shop (OSS) in Cebu City Port. They will also have to undergo the mandatory swab tests at the accredited laboratory in the OSS.

CPA General Manager Rene Antonio Bacon said their office will endorse the list of seafarers to the Provincial Health Office for coordination with the municipal or city health officer of the receiving LGU.

After completing the triage procedures, seafarers will immediately board the point-to-point vehicle bound to their designated quarantine facility. They will be not allowed to leave the facility pending their swab test results.

Once their results come out negative, the Licensed Manning Agency must arrange for the point-to-point transportation of the seafarers bound to their LGU of residence or seaport/airport of destination for transiting seafarers who must present a confirmed plane or ferry ticket.

Garcia said transiting seafarers will be escorted by the Philippine National Police (PNP) to ensure their travel. If their trips will be cancelled, they will be housed at a hotel until the next available trip with the the cost of lodging shouldered by the Manning Agency. 

However, if the test yields positive results, the Department of Health-BOQ will bring the seafarers to the temporary treatment and monitoring facility. 

Those seafarers embarking a ship will no longer be allowed to disembark the vessel unless in cases of emergency. (Mylen Manto)