- The Philippines opened its first ‘green lane’ for seafarers in Asia.
- It will allow the free movement of all cargo ship personnel across borders.
- This also intends to prevent the spread of Covid-19 for both Filipino and foreign seafarers.
- It covers seafarers, licensed manning agencies, shipping companies, airlines, and other entities.
- It has minimum standards and process flows for each application scenario.
- Stakeholders should follow to facilitate the speedy and safe conduct of crew change or repatriation.
- It also aims to complement the existing standard health and safety protocols.
According to an article published in Manila Times, the Philippines opened its first “green lane” for seafarers in Asia to allow the free movement of all cargo ship personnel across borders.
“This is a landmark in every sense and it encompasses the protection and facilitation of all seafarers of all nationalities because we believe that the pandemic means exactly that: A global contagion affecting mankind,” said Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Twitter.
Locsin, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Interior, and Local Government Undersecretary Bernardo Florece, Justice Assistant Secretary Nicholas Felix Ty, and Dr. Edgar Maala, who represented the Department of Health-Bureau of Quarantine, signed a joint circular establishing the Philippine Green Lane to facilitate speedy and safe travel of seafarers during the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Seafarers concerns to be addressed
Locsin has raised the need for ships to be given fresh crew to keep the international maritime trade moving. “We need to address the situation of the world’s seafarers without whom there would be no shipping and who ensure the maintenance of global supply chains.”
“With these guidelines, we are answering the call of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the maritime industries, to put in place a framework for ensuring safe ship crew changes and travel during the Covid-19 pandemic. And we are doing more,” he said.
Speedy and safe travel
The DFA, in a statement, said, “The Philippine government crafted the joint circular to ensure that seafarers are accorded speedy and safe travel, subject to health protocols mandated by the Philippine government, including safe and swift disembarkation and crew change during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
This also intends to prevent the spread of Covid-19 for both Filipino and foreign seafarers whether inbound, outbound, or transiting during crew change or repatriation, the Foreign Affairs department said.
Controlled travel corridors
The joint circular “will facilitate the creation of controlled travel corridors to open the Philippines for people-to-people and economic exchange and stimulate the country’s economy amidst its ongoing bout against the pandemic,” the DFA said.
It covers seafarers, licensed manning agencies, shipping companies, airlines, and other entities involved in facilitating the travel of seafarers for purposes of crew change and repatriation during the crisis.
Set of minimum standards and process flows
It sets the minimum standards and process flows for each application scenario that all stakeholders should follow to facilitate the speedy and safe conduct of crew change or repatriation. It also aims to complement the existing standard health and safety protocols.
- DFA, Department of Justice (DoJ)
- Department of Transportation (DoTr)
- Department of Health (DoH)
- Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE)
- Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)
- Maritime Industry Authority (Marina)
- Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA)
- Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA)
- Bureau of Quarantine (BoQ)
- Bureau of Immigration (BI)
- Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)
- Philippine Ports Authority (PPA)
- Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP)
- Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA)
- Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth)
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