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 agency members of the One-Stop Shop (OSS) Port of Manila, are currently in full force in assisting all Filipino crew members aboard a COVID-19 positive vessel “MV Athens Bridge” from India.

According to the vessel’s shipping agent, MV Athens Bridge departed from India on 22 April 2021 and arrived in Haiphong, Vietnam on 01 May 2021 for the conduct of the crew’s RT-PCR test. It was later on found that out of the 21 Filipino crew members onboard, 12 of them tested positive of COVID-19.

On 06 May 2021, the PCG received a request from the vessel’s captain to execute a medical evacuation of the two (2) crew members who both needed urgent medical care. The vessel, at that time, was located 12 nautical miles west of Corregidor Island.

Upon securing clearance from the BOQ and the Department of Health (DOH), MV Athens Bridge was directed to the quarantine anchorage area designated by the OSS Port of Manila. Security is also provided by the PCG to ensure that no unauthorized vessel or banca will approach the vessel.

Early evening of the same day, BOQ doctors boarded the vessel to assess the condition of the crew and recommended the immediate medical evacuation of two (2) crew members in critical condition.

As of press time, the crew members in critical condition have been safely evacuated and brought to the dedicated medical facility for treatment. The rest of the crew are contained in the vessel and shall be provided with needed medical supplies, including oxygen tanks, with assistance from BOQ and PCG.

The national government, through the maritime sector of the DOTr, assures that the situation and the condition of the crew members will be consistently monitored. Health and safety protocols will also be prioritized throughout the entire process.