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Over 16,000 Filipino, foreign seafarers cleared at Manila port

Over 16,000 Filipino, foreign seafarers cleared at Manila port
Daphne Galvez - June 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Over 16,000 Filipino and foreign seafarers on cruise ships anchored in in Manila Bay have been cleared to disembark by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) since the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic broke out.

In a statement on Friday, the BI said a total of 16,287 seafarers were cleared by the agency – 11,189 Filipinos and 5,098 foreigners.

BI Seaport Operations chief Alnazib Decampong said the seafarers disembarked from 42 vessels between April 16 to June 15 after undergoing mandatory quarantine procedures and COVID-19 tests.

Around 2,300 seafarers, however, are still under quarantine in the vessels, he added.

Filipino seafarers received transportation assistance from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.

BI Boarding Supervisor Abinal Usman said that foreign seafarers were only allowed to disembark upon presentation of a confirmed outbound airline ticket.

They were escorted to the airport by BI personnel on the date and time of their scheduled flight.

Meanwhile, those with Filipino spouses were also allowed to leave the vessel and join their families, provided that they submit a letter-request, marriage certificate, photocopy of passport of Filipino spouse, negative Covid swab test result, and endorsement from the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Returning seafarers are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine before they are allowed to disembark from their ships, as a precautionary measure against the spread of COVID-19.