Foreign cruise ships carrying Filipino seafarers to arrive soon in PH

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 17 2020 10:16 PM

Manila Bay's waters appear turquoise amid the enhanced community quarantine on March 25, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Foreign cruise ships carrying Filipino seafarers are expected to arrive soon in the Philippines, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Friday, as the country continues to repatriate its nationals affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

“There are several ships that should begin arriving over the coming days. BOQ (Bureau of Quarantine) has issued guidelines for the arrival and reception of these ships and their crews,” Assistant Secretary Eduardo Meñez of the DFA Office of Strategic Communication and Research said in a text message.

The returning overseas Filipino workers (OFW) will undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival as a safety measure, the DFA said.

The country's pandemic response task force earlier said foreign cruise ships carrying Filipino seafarers would be allowed to dock at ports in Manila.

The Philippine government will also allow the use of ships as quarantine facilities for Filipino crew members subject to certain guidelines.

The use of the cruise ship as a quarantine facility will be determined by its “suitability as a quarantine facility and the cruise ship owners' willingness and capability to financially sustain the operation of the quarantine program in their ship," the DFA said.

“While the DFA works hand-in-hand with various foreign governments and cruise ship companies with regard to the repatriation of OFWs, the quarantine facilities and program will be determined and facilitated by the Department of Health (DOH) and Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ),” it added.

More than 13,000 OFWs displaced by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic have returned to the country.

Worldwide, the number of Filipinos abroad who caught the novel coronavirus climbed to 837 on Friday.

The death toll rose to 106, while the number of those who recovered is 248. -- Report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN New