MANILA, Philippines — The maritime authorities under the Department of Transportation (DOTr) imposed strict health and security measures upon the arrival of “MV Hilma Bulker” at the Port of Manila on Wednesday (May 26).
“MV Hilma Bulker” which sailed from Indonesia, carried 18 Indonesian crew members to temporarily replace its original all-Filipino crew of 20.
The ship arrived in Manila to employ another batch of all-Filipino crew for takeover.
Of the vessel’s 20 original crew, 14 tested positive for the Indian variant of COVID-19.
Seven have fully recovered and given clearance by Indonesian authorities to return to the country; six remain in a hospital awaiting clearance and one succumbed to the disease.
The six crew members who tested negative in Indonesia already arrived via air at Clark last May 18 and are completing their mandatory quarantine and testing procedures for returning overseas Filipinos.
The Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) has prepared the necessary measures to handle the disembarkation as a medical evacuation.
Once the ship has been thoroughly disinfected, crew change will be conducted and fresh Filipino personnel will then be allowed to board.
All disembarking Indonesian crew from the “MV Hilma Bulker” will be considered as individuals that have been exposed to the virus, despite testing negative for COVID-19.
They will then be ushered to a stringent quarantine facility where they will undergo a quarantine period of 10 days.
Those who will exhibit symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 will be transferred to a dedicated hospital assigned by the BOQ.
The Philippine government, through the DOTr maritime sector, assures the public that it is fully-equipped and always in full force to handle the proper conduct of crew changes in the country.
Prior to its arrival in Cilacap, Indonesia on April 25, MV Hilma Bulker had a previous travel history in Cochin and Kandla in India from March 25 to April 17 for various bunkering and cargo operations.
DOTr’s maritime sector consists of the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and the agency members of the One-Stop Shop (OSS) Port of Manila.