The Philippines Port Authority (PPA) said in Facebook post that from 30 December 2020 to 15 January 2021 it would disallow crew change for vessels from an initial list of 20 countries at it’s crew change facilities including those in Manila South Harbor, Port Capinpin in Orion, Bataan, Port of Sasa in Davao and Port of Batangas.

PPA said the ban of crew change from vessels coming from these countries was part of the “country’s bid to prevent the entry of the new Covid-19 strain through the country’s ports”.

“Based on the Memorandum released by DOTr  (Department of Transport)assistant secretary for Maritime Narciso Vingzon, Jr. to guide the crew change hubs, the initial list of flagged countries includes Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom,” PPA said.

The move by the world’s largest supplier of seafarers will come as another blow to owners and managers seeking to conduct much needed crew changes, and seafarers themselves desperate to return home to the Philippines, in some cases many months after their contracts have expired.

As the new, more virulent strain of Covid-19 continues to spread, PPA  said more countries could be added to the list.

source: Seatrade Maritime