Capitol to issue guidelines on return of seafarers to support crew change hub in Cebu

By: Rosalie O. Abatayo - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | September 27,2020 - 12:20 PM

Ships docked at pier 1 in Cebu City. |CDND File Photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The provincial government will be laying down guidelines for the return of seafarers in support of the planned activation of a crew change hub at the ports of Cebu.

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Assistant Secretary Narciso Vingson Jr. recently visited the Capitol to present a plan to activate the crew change hub here, which will already become the fourth in the country.

The establishment of the hub is aimed at facilitating the return of some 80,000 seafarers stranded abroad and the onboarding of over 300,000 seafarers who are stranded in the country.

In a report by the Provincial Information Office, Vingson was quoted saying that the establishment of a crew change hub is needed because a volume of the country’s seafarers come from Cebu and the Visayas region.

READ: CPA GM Miole: Cebu port to have one-stop-shop for crew change soon 

Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said she will issue a new executive order that will outline the protocols that will be observed by the returning seafarers.  This will be in addition to existing guidelines generally imposed on returning and departing Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).

“Another EO outlining the protocols for returning seafarers will be issued, she said, and will be echoed to the mayors as well,” the Capitol report said.

Quoting the transportation official, the PIO said the activation of the new hub is aimed at addressing the need for a fresh set of crew members in ships and “ensure the health, safety, and welfare of seafarers who have been out in the sea since Covid-19 pandemic started.”

Under the International Labor Organization (ILO) 2006 Maritime Labor Convention (MLC), a seafarer should only serve on board a vessel for a maximum period of 11 months.

Exceeding this period, Vingson said, “will be harmful to their physical and mental health.” / dcb

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