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Subic Freeport is now crew-change hub

Subic Freeport is now crew-change hub
Patrick Roxas September 16, 2020

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT: Five Filipino seafarers, stranded aboard their ship for several monthsbecause of port restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic, disembarked here on Thursday as Subic officially started operations as a crew-change hub.

The unnamed Filipino ship crew disembarked from MV Dapeng Star, a liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker based in Hong Kong.

Subic Bay is one of the ports designated by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-MEID) as hub for international crew change.

Wilma Eisma, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chairman and administrator, described as smooth the arrival of the first batch of crew.

“The operation went without a hitch and was over in just a matter of three hours,” Eisma said.

She recounted that at 7:40 a.m., a tugboat left the San Bernardino jetty here to meet up with Dapeng Star, which had anchored near Grande Island at the mouth of Subic Bay.

The tugboat carried personnel from the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) and the Philippine Coast Guard who conducted the initial health check-up of the inbound seafarers and had them suited up in personal protective equipment (PPE) prior to disembarkation.

“At 10 a.m. the tugboat was back at the jetty, the five seafarers in blue PPEs got off, had their baggage checked by K-9, boarded a van to the One-Stop-Shop (OSS) at the Subic airport where they got swabbed for RT-PCR test and had their documents processed by the Bureau of Quarantine and Bureau of Immigration,” Eisma noted.

“At exactly 11:14 a.m., or just over three hours, the seafarers were already departing for the Manila Grand Opera Hotel, which shall serve as their quarantine facility for 14 days,” she said.