Ships docking in Port Capinpin in Orion, Bataan to change crew will now enjoy a 50 percent discount on charges after the Office of the President approved the request of the Department of Transportation through the Philippine Port Authority (PPA).
The reduced fee covers port dues, dockage-at-anchorage, dockage-at-berth, and lay-up fees.
The order follows the designation of the port, together with the ports of Manila and Subic in Zambales as crew change hub, as part of the initiative to facilitate the speedy and safe travel of seafarers and change of crew amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The DoTr earlier said it is also looking at designating Batangas, Davao and Cebu as crew change hubs.
In line with the commitment to make the Philippines as an international crew change hub, the government has conducted recenlty the first crew change operation at Port Capinpin,
The activation of crew change hubs was directed by Department of Transportation to help address the global need for fresh crew of ships, and to ensure the health, safety, welfare and employment of seafarers as they can only serve on board a vessel without leave up to 11 months based on International Labour Organization (ILO) 2006 Maritime Labour Convention (MLC).
This will primarily benefit seafarers, who are stranded onboard ships with expired contracts due to imposed travel restrictions due to COVID-19.
Strict protocols and procedures were set by the OSS to ensure the smooth implementation of crew change operations. Prior to embarkation, seafarers are required to undergo RT-PCR testing 72 hours before boarding.
After getting a negative result, they will be subjected to physical examination by the Bureau of Quarantine, as well as Customs and Immigration procedures. Upon obtaining clearance, they will be sent to the vessel where they will receive handover of duties from off signees. — Ruelle Albert D. Castro