MARINA releases health protocols for repatriation and crew change amid COVID-19 pandemic

Jul 29, 2020

The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), with guidance from the Philippines Department of Transportation (DOTr), has issued the new detailed procedures including health and safety protocols for the repatriation and the conduct of crew change, in authorized domestic and international ports in the Republic of the Philippines.

The following protocols cover the safety standards and procedures for Filipino and foreign seafarers including:

  • - Filipino Seafarers Joining a Ship Docked in the Philippines or Overseas (Outbound)
  • - Filipino Seafarers Leaving a Ship (Inbound)
  • - Special Procedures for Filipino Seafarers Leaving a Cruise Ship Docked in Philippine Seaports
  • - Filipino Seafarers Transiting in the Philippines (Airport/Terminal to Airport/Terminal)
  • - Foreign Seafarers Joining a Ship Docked in the Philippine Seaport from the Airport (Airport to Ship)
  • - Foreign Seafarers Leaving a Ship Docked in Philippine Seaport to an Airport (Ship to Airport)
  • - Foreign Seafarers Transiting in the Philippines (Airport/Terminal to Airport/Terminal)

This is consistent with the issuance of Joint Circular No. 01 Series of 2020 dated 2 July 2020, with the subject “Guidelines for the Establishment of the Philippine Green Lane to Facilitate the Speedy and Safe Travel of Seafarers, Including their Safe and Swift Disembarkation, and Crew Change During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

According to VADM Robert A. Empedrad, AFP (RET), Administrator of the Maritime Industry Authority, "the revised protocol has ensured that the procedures on crew change and the repatriation of seafarers are done in compliance with the existing safety and health protocols issued by concerned government agencies for effective crew change as well as the IMO protocol."

Moreover, the protocol on crew change and the repatriation of seafarers follows recommended procedures by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as contained in its Circular Letter No.4204/Add.14 dated 5 May 2020, with the subject “Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Recommended framework of protocols for ensuring safe ship crew changes and travel during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.”

This, however, does not mean that shipping companies will be allowed to implement crew change in any port. The crew change hub locations will only be allowed to undertake crew change activities upon evaluation and approval by the DOTr that the location is ready and will be capable of complying with all protocols, including undertaking RT-PCR swab testing at the port of disembarkation.

Currently, only the Port of Manila is allowed as a crew change hub, and shortly, Port Capinpin in Orion, Bataan. Other crew change hub locations are being considered such as Subic, Batangas and Davao.

As a final word, Administrator Empedrad said that, "The MARINA expresses its utmost support to the DOTr in its effort to make the Philippines as an international crew change hub. As a major provider of Filipino seafarers to the global labor market, we should spearhead the support to all seafarers who have been recognized as key workers."

  • Press Release, 28 July 2020
  • Source: DOTr-MARINA