In anticipation of further easing travel restrictions, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Monday has issued health and safety protocols for the resumption of sea travel operations in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) in Central Visayas.
PCG Central Visayas chief, Commodore Joseph Badajos, upon the directive of PCG Commandant, Vice Admiral George Ursabia Jr., issued a notice to mariners on 10 July 2020, emphasizing that all passenger vessel operators in the region shall strictly observe only the list of routes and corresponding rates approved and prescribed by the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA).
The PCG Central Visayas also reminded all stakeholders that they are only allowed to operate at a 50 percent maximum of their carrying capacity and physical distancing must be strictly observed by their passengers and crew members at all times.
Passenger vessel operators must also designate personnel who will conduct temperature and health condition checks among passengers upon checking-in. Individuals who will exhibit any sign or symptom of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) such as fever, cough, colds, and/or difficulty in breathing shall not be allowed to board the vessel.
Those who will pass the health screening shall then be provided with a Passenger Personal Detail Form (PPDF) to be filled out and submitted for contact tracing. Operators are instructed to designate a vessel personnel who shall be in-charge in distributing and collecting the PPDF and ensure that said forms are received by the Department of Health (DoH) in a timely manner.
Moreover, operators are reminded to ensure that their vessels have sufficient supply of hand sanitizer or alcohol, as well as disinfectant solution for footbaths in all entry and exit access points of passengers and crew.
The mandatory wearing of face masks before, during, and after the voyage must also be strictly implemented. Non-compliance of a passenger will result in his or her not being allowed to embark the vessel.
Should a passenger show any symptom of COVID-19 while the vessel is in transit, operators shall ensure that he/she is immediately isolated in a pre-designated isolation area. Upon arrival at the port of destination, the concerned passenger must be safely turned-over to the municipal or city health officer of the concerned local government unit for further medical assistance.
Ursabia enjoins all concerned stakeholders to cooperate and work with the government in cautiously reviving sea travel operations to fit into the ‘new normal’ standards of public transportation, without compromising the health and safety of the Filipino people.