MANILA - A Filipino seafarer passed away early this week from COVID-19 while his ship was docked in Indonesia, the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) said Wednesday.
The Filipino was chief officer of MV Hilma Bulker and was with 19 other crew members, who are feared to have been infected by the Indian variant of the coronavirus.
Of the ship crew, 13 remained in Indonesia, while 6 were allowed to travel back to the Philippines via a flight on May 18.
Marina Undersecretary Jeffrey Solon said the group who flew back to the Philippines after being cleared by the Indonesian Health Department is now of concern.
They are under quarantine.
“Nakakatakot din baka na-check lang 'yan normal COVID 'yan, baka later on mag-manifest 'yan as Indian variant. We don't know kung how stringent 'yung pag-test sa Indonesia kasi hindi naman nag-manifest na rin itong mga ito. Kaya for safety and health reasons (we are monitoring),” Solon said.
(It's scary because later on they might manifest symptoms of the Indian variant. We don't know how stringent the testing was in Indonesia. For safety and health reasons we are monitoring them.)
The Indian variant, known to be an aggressive type of COVID-19, has ravaged India, where millions have been infected and over 300,000 have died.
A Filipino seafarer from a ship that had passed through India recently died of COVID-19.
MV Hilma Bulker, now manned by Indonesians, is set to anchor off Manila Bay on May 26 for crew change. Those who will board the ship will undergo stringent procedure.
There are details yet on how the Philippine government intends to handle the repatriation of the deceased Filipino crew member from Indonesia.
- report from Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News