Asian countries, such as Singapore and the Philippines have seen a relaxation of pandemic restrictions for seafarers
Following Singapore’s announcement in their changed stance on the pandemic measures and gradual opening up, the Philippines have also announced new measures of living with the pandemic. More specifically, the country’s Department of Transportation (DOTr) has taken steps to help seafarers’ lives and make crew change easier.
According to the official DOTr statement, the Philippines’ government acknowledges the vital role of seafarers in sustaining the global economy through keeping supply chains running smoothly. It also added that the DOTr is supportive and seeks to enhance and protect the welfare of seafarers. Therefore, the Secretary of the DOTr Art Tugade has ordered for the establishment of more crew change hubs, spread out throughout the country.
Win-win situation for the Philippines and seafarers
According to DOTr, the decision to increase the number of crew change hubs is the country’s vision to develop the Philippines into an international manning and crew change capital. Based on current international statistics from the International Chamber of Shipping, the Philippines is the world’s largest crewing supply nation.
As of April 8 2022, three new crew change hubs had been established and operating in the ports of Zamboanga, Iloilo, and Puerto Princesa, Palawan. With the addition of the three new crew change hubs, the Philippines is now operating a total of nine active crew change hubs around the country. It will help to actively facilitate crew change operations for signing on and signing off vessels.
The crew change hubs will see at least 13 governmental agencies working together in sync, as well as the many provincial and local governments of each region, to help seafarers smoothen their crew change procedures. Especially in these pandemic times, some of the more crucial agencies involved are the Department of Health, Bureau of Quarantine, the Bureau of Customs and the Overseas Workers Welfare Organisation, which will help guide seafarers through the process safely.
According to Secretary Tugade, the DOTr is determined to make the crew change process as seamless as possible while ensuring the health and safety of seafarers, “It takes a whole maritime approach to make crew changes possible in the country. The various government agencies and the stakeholders that are involved remain firm in their strong and active participation to ensure the continuous operation of these crew change hubs.”
Crewing Online Media Team
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