The One-Stop Shop (OSS) for seafarers concluded its virtual celebration for the first year anniversary of crew change operations in the country on Thursday, 07 October 2021, during a program hosted by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) Maritime Sector.

The DOTr Maritime Sector, composed of the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Cebu Port Authority (CPA), and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), has been at the forefront of initiating crew change operations for seafarers who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the establishment of the first crew change hub at the Port of Capinpin in September 2020, the DOTr Maritime Sector has successfully opened additional hubs in Subic, Manila, Batangas, Cebu, and Davao.

The operation of the crew change hubs, however, would not have been possible without the 24 agencies in charge of the OSS. With the presence of the OSS for Seafarers at each of the six (6) crew change hubs, seafarers are guaranteed safe and seamless repatriation and deployment.

Assistant Secretary for Maritime VADM Narciso A Vingson Jr acknowledged the importance of the support of national government agencies, local and provincial government units, shipowners, and shipping associations.

“Together, the OSS thrived and is remaining to thrive. It is our pledge to continue to serve and assist thousands of seafarers to embark their vessels in their best state during deployment, and safely bring them home during repatriation,” Asec Vingson said in his opening address.

The primary highlight of the Crew Change Anniversary Celebration was the recognition of key OSS members and partners nationwide who have provided outstanding contributions in the conduct of crew change operations amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. It was also an opportunity to launch the Filipino Seafarers COVID-19 Vaccination Portal and the Crew Change Website.

The Filipino Seafarers COVID-19 Vaccination Portal was created to streamline the process for seafarers who wish to avail themselves of the national government’s vaccination program. Meanwhile, the Crew Change Website serves as a reliable source of information for seafarers and shipping companies who would like to know the latest crew change protocols in the country.

Capturing the spirit of the Crew Change Anniversary Celebration, Secretary of Transportation Art Tugade imparted words of inspiration during his address.

“The DOTr Maritime Sector engages in a whole maritime approach to make crew change possible in the country. It is for this reason, that today, as we celebrate the anniversary of the crew change hub operations in the Philippines, we wish to show our gratitude to the various government agencies and stakeholders, whose strong and active participation have not wavered to ensure the continuous operation of the crew change hubs, for our maritime industry champions: our Filipino seafarers,” he says, citing how the Philippines provided a swift response to the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) call to action concerning the global crew change crisis sparked by the ongoing public health crisis.

As the country continues to stand its ground as the Crew Change Capital of the World, the DOTr Maritime Sector remains committed to providing the necessary quarantine and testing requirements to ensure the continued employment of Filipino seafarers on domestic and international vessels.