Port of Cebu activates crew change hub for seafarers

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Saturday, October 17, said that the crew change hub at the Port of Cebu was now operational for seafarers.

In a statement, DOTr said that the crew change protocol for the port has been approved after the Cebu provincial government issued Executive Order No. 27 to confirm the activation.

Operations started on Friday, October 16.

"Cebu is a strategic location for crew change, as it is at the heart of the Visayas. With the approval of the Port of Cebu as a crew change hub, the port can begin to facilitate the process for arriving and departing seafarers coming to and from the Visayas," said DOTr Assistant Secretary Narciso Vingson.

The one-stop-shop hub will serve the following:

  • Outbound Filipino seafarers joining a ship docked in the Philippines,
  • Inbound Filipino seafarers leaving a ship,
  • Foreign seafarers joining a ship docked in the port from an airport,
  • Foreign seafarers leaving a ship docked in the port to an airport.

On Thursday, October 15, the DOTr and the Cebu Port Authority (CPA) led the dry run for the hub.

Based on the crew change protocol approved by the DOTr and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, all arriving vessels at the Port of Ceby would be anchored at the designated docking site authorized by the CPA and the Philippine Coast Guard.

All disembarking seafarers must observe health and safety protocols such as disinfection, handwashing, physical distancing, and wearing of full personal protective equipment.

Seafarers arriving at the hub would proceed to a registration booth and would undergo mandatory swab testings.

For outbound seafarers, only those with negative coronavirus tests and a certificate of containment would be allowed to board vessels.

Apart from Port of Cebu, the Philippines also operates crew change hubs at the Port of Manila, the Port of Capinpin in Bataan, and another one at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone in Olangapo.

The ports in Batangas and Davao are awaiting activation of their respective crew change hubs. – Rappler.com