Dispatches No. 482

Dear Members,

 

Today is the deadline for submitting comments to the ICS for their members and G-20 guidelines regarding COVID-19 procedures and protocols.

I am sincerely hoping that these procedures will be adhered to by owners themselves, and will allow ship managers and crew managers to start crew changes.

We hope to have these procedures ready from ICS within the week. We will obviously send them to you as soon as they are available.

I don’t need to tell you that the situation is dynamic and every day brings some new twist, as well as solutions. For those of you who have not received our Pooling Resources for Crew Change, Message No. 9, please find it below.

Please also find messages 7 and 8 appended,as they were issued in the last seven days since the last edition of Dispatches, and summarises our position and efforts accurately.

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Message No. 9

Dear Members,

 

Our expert, Gerardo Borromeo, CEO of PTC reports:

 

 

Here is a quick summary:

 

1) The Philippine government does allow Filipino seafarers to return at any time to the country.  The key aspect of this return – which industry is currently working on with the government – is a testing protocol to determine the presence of the COVID-19 virus on any returning individual. This is simply because the government wants to make sure that such individuals are not transmission vectors, upon arrival, even if they are asymptomatic.

 

The test that the government will accept is called an RT-PCR test (Reverse Transcription – Polymerase Chain Reaction) test. This test looks for the actual presence of the COVID-19 virus through a swab test of the nasal and/or oral passages of the individual.  If the result is negative, the individual should be able to return home to complete their 14-day self- quarantine. If they test positive, then the individual will have to be sent to a managed care facility or hospital where they will need to spend 14 days being monitored to see if the presence of the virus becomes a real health issue to this individual.  At the end of the 14 days, if the person remains asymptomatic, then the person will be allowed to go home, with proper medical certification.

 

The above protocols are now being finalised and as soon as they are ready, we will forward the official documents to you for reference.  The team of Edgar, Karen, and Gen Padilla are working night and day to assist the government in figuring out how to best implement their requirements within the context of the unique elements of the maritime industry.

 

As you can imagine, it has not been easy at all. This is a reflection of the general lack of understanding and appreciation of the industry and the difficulty for the bureaucracy to see outside the box, especially in times of disruption: it has therefore been challenging and difficult to move forward.  In fact, the rules have been adjusted often as the enormity of the situation makes its presence felt.

 

Moving forward, Edgar, Karen, and the General are the key persons that can provide updates and/or assist in making inquiries or representations to the government on behalf of the industry, as this is what they have been doing so far over the last six weeks.

 

If you have any need to clarify the medical procedures, I have also included Toby in my email reply.  He has actually come out with a proposed protocol which has been shared with the government, our Department of Health, and Bureau of Quarantine for their reference.

 

2) The Philippine government does allow Filipino seafarers to be deployed overseas.   The limitation today being the availability of flights to the country/airport and port where the embarkation is to take place: the country should also allow seafarers to transit through to their vessels.

 

Currently, we are aware of three countries – Hong Kong, Korea, and Japan – where crew changes can take place.  But there is a caveat, which is the requirement for the seafarer, (upon arrival in any of these countries) to be quarantined for 14 days and to be tested sometime during those 14 days for the presence of the virus (again an RT-PCR swab test), prior to being allowed to board the vessel.

 

We have had first-hand experience on this, and Edgar can provide specific details if you are interested: some successful, and others a bit more challenging.

 

3) The following airlines continue to operate to and from Manila:

 

– Singapore Airlines

– All Nippon Airways

– Saudi Airlines

– Qatar Airways

– Korean Airlines

– Emirates

 

Not all are daily schedules, so it is best to review availability with a travel group.

 

4) The government is also working to identify selected ports that will allow crew changes to take place, and we hope this ruling comes out soon.  We did speak to the Secretary of the Department of Transportation, Arturo Tugade, and the General Manager of the Philippine Ports Authority, Jay Santiago, and both confirmed that this is high on the government’s radar and to-do list.

 

As soon as testing protocols are in place, and when laboratories that can handle the evaluations, I believe the rest of the process flow will proceed.

 

The Philippines is committed to playing its role in the international maritime arena.  What we face today is no different than what other countries are facing:  medical screening issues, quarantine restrictions, airline availability, port restrictions, documentary processing, and the expiration of passports, visas, Flag State documents, and the like.

 

At this time, maximum flexibility and cooperation are required.  We will get through this soon enough.  In the meantime, anything we can do to assist, please let us know.  With the names I have shared here in my reply, you will not have a no/late response again, I assure you.

 

Apologies one more time, and thank you for your continued belief in the Philippines and the Filipino seafarer.

 

Best regards,

 

Dito

 

Gerardo A. Borromeo

Vice-Chairman
Chief Executive Officer
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Message No. 8

Dear Members,

 

Forgive me such a peak in our e-mail activities today but attached is extremely important and detailed information about crew changes in India.

Link to the document: https://www.intermanager.org/resources/covid-19/

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Message No. 7

Dear Members,

 

Please find attached an important bulletin from OCIMF related to vetting inspections.

 

Please ensure wide distribution within your organisations.

 

Link to the document: https://www.intermanager.org/resources/covid-19/

 

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Last week:

  • Working on COVID-19
  • Working on Enclosed Space Death project

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This Week:

  • Working on COVID-19
  • Working on Enclosed Space Death project

…………

Looking forward:

  • IMO VC 30.04.2020
  • Working on Enclosed Space Death project
  • Working on COVID-19

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Mt Kilimanjaro August 2020

We are taking on this giant of the world in August 2020, and we are looking for participants now so that training can begin and we can build a good plan for fundraising.

This is certainly one of life’s achievements and will not be forgotten easily!

Minimum sponsorship amount £5000.

Brochure and video being created.

I hope you’re well and will join me in a canoe or on a trek, maybe?

 

Kindest regards

Rebecca Bridgen

Events Fundraiser

Sailors’ Society

+ 44 7712 404130

 

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Brgds Kuba

Capt. Kuba Szymanski

Secretary General

+44 7624 498 266

 

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