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IMEC, ITF open 300-crew Covid-19 facility in Manila

Photo: Kristine Wook - Unsplash Kristine-wook-unsplash.jpg
Manila, capital of the Philippines
The International Maritime Employer’s Council (IMEC) and the International Transport Worker’s Federation (ITF) have opened up sizable quarantine and testing facilities in Manila to accommodate up to 300 seafarers, amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The facilities currently can house up to 300 seafarers stay for a 14-day quarantine in two Manila hotels which are open from 28 October. The seafarers will have Covid-19 tests upon arrival and departure, stay in single occupancy rooms with meals delivered and receive ongoing treatment checks.

“We want members to book rooms as soon as possible, to make sure the initiative is successful. If it is successful, we hope to open similar facilities in India and Ukraine,” saud Francesco Gargiulo, ceo of IMEC.

Crew change hubs have expressed concerns about the quality of the quarantine seafarers used and a few cases of fake Covid-19 tesplans fts have raised some concerns.

To avoid tampering with the test certificates, the project has partnered with a Hong Kong-based technology company, which provides a secure health pass using blockchain technology.

And to help ensure the quality of the quarantine, the government of Singapore backs Bureau Veritas (BV) auditing of the facility itself, and IMEC is hoping for public endorsements by countries such as Singapore and Australia.

Singapore had earlier warned of tampered Covid-19 test results in crew testing, leading to some cases of seafarers arriving in the country for crew change with Covid type systems who have later tested positive.

Following the bulker Vega Dream incident where seven of the 20 crew tested positive for Covid-19 at Western Australia’s (WA) Port Hedland, the WA state government called on the Federal government to ensure seafarers from the Philippines, in particularly, were Covid free. This is because out of the seven seafarers tested positive, six of them had supposedly boarded the vessel in compliance with the Department of Transportation in the Philippines, Protocol for Crew Change and Repatriation.