Bataan Port Starts Ops As Crew Change Hub

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The Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced on Saturday the start of the Port of Capinpin here as the first ship crew change hub outside Metro Manila.

DOTr Undersecretary Raul del Rosario said the first to benefit were 10 outgoing and 11 new boarding crews of cargo vessel MT Alpine Liberty with a registry at Marshal Islands in Majuro and coming from Dalian, China.

Del Rosario said what they implemented was seafarers’ crew change following the country’s commitment with the green lane protocol.

This, he said, is an international protocol where the change of crews of a certain vessel is facilitated.

Del Rosario said when the contract expired, the seafarers had to leave the boat with a new replacement.

“Kaya dito sa Port Capinpin naitatag itong crew change hub kung saan ang mga cargo ship dito magpapalit ng mga seafarers. Ang mga expired na ang kontrata bababa at sasakay naman ang mga bagong seafarers (The crew change hub was established here at Port Capinpin where the cargo ships here will replace the seafarers. Those with expired contracts will disembark while the new seafarers will go on board),” he added.

Del Rosario said the One Stop Shop Covid-19 protocols launched by DOTr will be implemented in Port Capinpin.

“Pagbaba ng seafarer, sisiguraduhin nating wala silang dalang virus at dadaan sila sa examination ng Bureau of Quarantine at sa RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) swab test dito mismo sa port (Once the seafarer disembarks, we will make sure that he does not have virus and they will undergo examination at the Bureau of Quarantine and the RT-PCR swab test will be done right here at the port), he said.

Outgoing seafarers have to undergo quarantine until the result of their test is known. If found negative, that will only be the time for them to go home to their families but if tested positive, they have to stay in isolation facilities, he said.

Del Rosario said this also applies to new boarding ship crews. They will undergo a test before proceeding to Port Capinpin where they will be subjected to a test by the Bureau of Quarantine.

At the One Stop Shop, the Bureau of Immigration will facilitate all the travel documents of seafarers while ship agents and licensed manning agencies will help the seafarers with their needs.

“Sa lahat ng point of entries, magtatatag tayo ng One Stop Shop para mabantayan ang pagpasok ng Covid-19. Ang utos sa atin ni Secretary Arthur Tugade ay gawing convenient, mabilis at tugma sa IATF protocols ang ipapatupad natin (In all point of entries, we will put up One Stop Shop to monitor the entry of Covid-19. The order of Secretary Arthur Tugade is to make it convenient, faster, and in compliance with IATF protocols),” he said.

DOTr Assistant Secretary for Maritime Narciso Vinzon said they have opened other ports like Port Capinpin for the seafarers because the Port of Manila is already too congested.

“Magbubukas din sa Cebu, Batangas at Davao sa Mindanao pero iniisa-isa natin ‘yan alinsunod sa patakaran ng IATF na ma-ensure ang health protocols. So ito ay binabalanse natin ang kalusugan saka ekonomiya para mapapauwi natin ang mga Filipino seafarers (We will open in Cebu, Batangas, and Davao in Mindanao. However, we are doing it one at a time in compliance with the regulations of IATF to ensure compliance with health protocols. So we are balancing the health and economy of the repatriation of Filipino seafarers),” Vinzon said.

“Kailangan natin sila pauwiin pero (We need to send them home) without compromising of course the health protocol that is being implemented by the government,” he added.

Port Capinpin manager Allan Rojo said they were following protocols for the health and safety of seafarers.

“Our role here to look for the safety and faster disembarking of the seafarers in accordance with the health protocols dictated by the IATF through its resolution and also in compliance with the regional IATF imposed by the province of Bataan,” Rojo said.

He said construction of a quarantine facility is ongoing at the compound of Port Capinpin. The seafarers have to stay at a temporary quarantine while waiting for their swab test result.

“When it comes to their results, if negative, they will go to their respective homes. If positive, we have a designated isolated facility for that purpose. So, if positive, they will be supervised by the Bureau of Quarantine and will be brought to the isolation facility,” he added.

Larry Cendaña, Philippine Coast Guard Station Commander, said “In triage facility, the Coast Guard is tasked to ensure the smooth processing of the swab test. They will be the one who will bring the specimen to the molecular laboratory and to ensure the seafarers will be brought to the quarantine facility and monitor them if they are observing the protocols).”

Barangay chairman Danilo Arsenio of Puting Buhangin, Orion said they have no fear in the departure and arrival of seafarers because they were assured by the DOTr, Department of Health and Bureau of Quarantine that safety protocols are in place. (PNA)

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