Manila-The Department of Transportation (DOTr), Philippine Ports Authority, Philippine Coast Guard, MARINA, and the Office for Transportation Security, have worked together to activate crew change hubs in the Philippines, in order to help address the worldwide need to provide maritime vessels the avenue to refresh their manpower, especially given the current situation and the array of health and safety restrictions, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To date, crew change hubs exist at the Port of Manila, Port of Capinpin in Bataan, and, just recently, at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. Soon, the ports of Batangas, Davao, and Cebu are to be activated.
« It is my hope for the Philippines to become a major international hub for crew change, transportation secretary Arthur Tugade said yesterday ».
The DOTr is determined to promote and guarantee the overall well-being of key maritime workers, which will redound to safe and efficient ship operations and the continuity of maritime trade. An important point as Filipinos account for the largest share of seafarers in the world.
“By becoming a crew change capital of the world, we would not only prime up our seafaring and maritime industry. We also expect to boost our hospitality industry,” Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) general manager Jay Daniel Santiago added.
On July 2 the government in Manila opened the first green lane for seafarers in Asia to finally allow the free movement of seafarers and personnel across borders.
The country was also one of just 13 to sign up last month to new international measures to open up foreign borders for seafarers and increase the number of commercial flights to expedite repatriation efforts following an international crew change summit convened by the UK.