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Cargo ships can dock except those from HK, Macau

Cargo ships can dock except those from HK, Macau
Krixia Subingsubing - March 12, 2020

Even as confirmed cases of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continued to rise, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) on Wednesday said it would still keep all ports open to all commercial cargo ships while doubling down on sanitation and quarantine measures on all ship crew and personnel.

PPA general manager Jay Santiago said all ports remained in full commercial operations, although international cargo vessels were still being screened at anchorage before docking.

For now, the PPA has only banned ships that have had made ports calls in mainland China and its special administrative regions Hong Kong and Macau, as well as Gyeongbuk (North Gyeongsang) province in South Korea. Crew disembarkation from such ships is also temporarily prohibited.

“The policy on no disembarkation and expected vessel change crew involving Filipinos remains in force and if needed, all berthing privileges of vessels coming from highly infected countries shall be canceled,” he added in a statement.

Apart from disinfection and monitoring of cargoes in short-haul voyages, the PPA is also considering establishing a centralized reporting system for all shipping and logistics stakeholders.

Sans that, Santiago assured that the PPA has established a passenger information system for easy contact tracing, as well as isolated holding and testing area for COVID-19 symptomatic port users.

“Ports are main gateways and PPA needs to make sure that these remain COVID-19 free,” Santiago said. “The measures being put into place will definitely slow down port processes and we are asking the sea-traveling public for patience and understanding as we are working towards the resolution of this major health concern.”