The Philippine Government permits Filipino Seafarers coming from countries with reported cases of the new SARS-CoV-2 strain, to enter the country provided strict and mandatory protocols are followed.
Additionally, they are allowed to leave the country following the exit protocols of the Philippines, as well as entry protocols to their destination countries.
In a memorandum issued by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea dated 29 December 2020, the Philippine Government implements restrictions for foreign travel from 20 countries with reported cases of new COVID-19 strain.
Filipino Seafarers coming from these countries are allowed to enter the Philippines.
Meanwhile, all foreign travelers transiting or traveling from these countries are prohibited from setting foot on PH soil. This takes effect from 0001H of 30 December 2020, until 15 January 2020.
Here is the list of countries in particular:
- Hong Kong
- South Africa
- South Korea
- Switzerland, and
- United Kingdom (UK)
Returning Filipinos and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs)
We still allow entry to Filipino citizens coming from the countries mentioned above. However, they must undergo an absolute facility-based 14-day quarantine period and a negative RT-PCR result.
The Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) must ensure the implementation of strict adherence to quarantine and testing protocols.
Foreign Seafarers with a travel history from the said countries in the last 14 days are temporarily prohibited from entering the Philippines from 0001H of 30 December 2020 to 15 January 2021.
Meanwhile, Filipino Seafarers are allowed to disembark their ships but must be subjected to a mandatory facility-based quarantine for 14 days, in addition to negative RT-PCR results.
Arrival Before 0001H of 30 December 2020
Filipino and foreign seafarers traveling or transiting from the above-listed countries within 14 days, who arrive before 0001H of 30 December 2020, will be allowed entry but are required to undergo stricter quarantine and testing protocols.
Seafarers who fall under this classification are only allowed to disembark in the Port of Manila and shall be transported by their shipping agents to the designated quarantine facility via Point-to-Point (P2P) under strict monitoring of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).
Filipino seafarers shall be quarantined in OWWA-assigned facilities and at Athlete’s Village in New Clark City with accommodation shouldered by the Philippine government.
Meanwhile, foreign seafarers shall be quarantined in the Department of Tourism (DOT)-assigned facilities for 14 days.
Countries Not Covered by the Restriction
Inbound international travelers from countries not covered by the restriction must strictly finish the 14-day quarantine, following the existing quarantine protocols of the national government.
This allows home quarantine after testing negative on RT-PCR at the point of entry.
It is the task of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to implement these measures.
The lives of our mariners amidst the COVID-19 pandemic are at stake as they too are our front liners. There are an estimated 400,000 seafarers on board commercial vessels who are unable to go home and are past the expiry of their contract.
The same number urgently needs to replace them and join the ship.
As countries around the world restrict movements, seafarers are in dire need of crew change. Suspended flights, closed borders, and travel restrictions are some of the measures to limit the spread of the virus.
However, these too affect the crew change of seafarers.
The Philippines is one of the largest suppliers of seamen. By allowing our sailors in and out of our country, we make sure to reduce the number of seafarers needing to go home.
May the winds be in your favor.