Philippines activates 3 new crew change hubs to help seafarers in pandemic

The Philippine transportation department said on Saturday, August 22, that it has activated 3 new crew change hubs in the country to help seafarers distressed by the pandemic.

The hubs are located at the Port of Manila, Port of Capinpin in Bataan and at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone

Crew change is essential for seafarers to ensure their health and wellbeing, but the travel restrictions due to the pandemic have made crew change difficult the last couple of months.

It is also during crew change that seafarers catch flights home.

Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad said the hubs will give seafarers "swift processing."

Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) General Manager Jay Daniel Santiago said the country has a green lane to "provide speedy movements of seafarers."

There are also one-stop shops in the hubs to check and process health requirements, said Transportation Undersecretary Raul Del Rosario.

“The strategic location of Subic Bay makes it ideal for crew changes due to its proximity to countries with high trading activities. The maritime industry in the area is also actively performing, with excellent port facilities and safe harbor to serve the needs of internationally-flagged vessels," said Del Rosario.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) said that 734 ships have docked or anchored at the Port of Manila for crew change over the last 4 months, also increasing economic activity in the areas, according to the agency. – Rappler.com