MANILA – The maritime sector of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), consisting of the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), together with the members of the One-Stop Shop (OSS) Port of Manila has assisted the disembarkation of the 1,078 repatriated crew members of MV “Norweigan Encore”.

The MV “Norwegian Encore”, which is owned by the Norwegian Cruise Line, arrived in the country on 11 April 2021, and ferried a total of 1,078 repatriated seafarers – composed of 1,058 Filipino and 20 foreign crew members.

Upon the arrival, all crew members aboard the vessel were profiled by the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) and underwent the strict mandatory quarantine and testing protocols set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. The said vessel was cleared to be utilized as a quarantine facility and subjected to the close supervision and monitoring of the BOQ.

The swab testing, which was subsidized through the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, was executed onboard by the PCG, First Aide Diagnostics Laboratory, and BOQ on 19 April 2021. Within 24 hours after swabbing, the test results and quarantine certificates of the seafarers were released.

On 21 April 2021, the disembarkation proper of the 1,078 crew at Pier 15 was conducted through the inter-agency effort of PPA, PCG, BOQ, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), and Asian Terminals, Inc. (ATI).

In coordination with OWWA, the Filipino crew with negative test results and quarantine certificates shall proceed to their provinces of destination and fulfill the remaining quarantine requirements as mandated by their Local Government Units (LGUs). Meanwhile, the 20 foreign seafarers were brought directly to the airport to pursue flights bound to their home countries.

Other seafarers, including the 59 servicing crew who have yet to start their quarantine proper, were brought to their designated facilities identified by the BOQ in compliance with existing government protocols.

As the Philippines expects more international vessels to conduct crew changes in the country, the DOTr, under the leadership of Secretary Arthur Tugade, assures the public that it will continue to extend its assistance to Filipino and foreign crew members while implementing the necessary measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 disease.