By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Negros Occidental yesterday confirmed, amid the ongoing threat from the coronavirus disease, or Covid-19, two foreign vessels were placed on quarantine off the coast of Bacolod City.
PCG-Negros Occidental chief, Lt. Commander Jansen Benjamin, said the first vessel, the M/V Unicorn Bravo, a 3,300 metric ton cargo vessel from Xiamen, China, arrived late Monday evening. He said the vessel was carrying 15 Chinese and four Burmese crew members, and transporting fertilizer.
The second vessel, the M/V BMC Catherine, which originated from the Vietnamese port city of Nghi Sơn, arrived shortly after the M/V Unicorn Bravo.
Benjamin said they are more focused on the Unicorn Bravo since PCG guidelines require a 14-day quarantine for all vessels originating in China.
Meanwhile, the BMC Catherine will be allowed to dock at the Bredco Port once they clear Bureau of Quarantine inspections.
Vietnam is not covered by the PCG memo on Covid-19.
According to protocol, the captain of the Unicorn Bravo forwarded documents showing they had been monitoring the crew’s body temperature throughout their transit to the Philippines.
The vessel was ordered to anchor 400 meters away from Bredco Port during the 14-day quarantine period.
Benjamin said they have not received reports on the vessel’s food and water supply and are assuming their provisions are sufficient for the next few days.
The PCG official added, a Bureau of Quarantine doctor is scheduled to board the vessel tomorrow.
In addition, Benjamin contacted City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office cluster head, Executive Assistant Joemarie Vargas, who noted, Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia has not issued any directives that would otherwise ban the vessel from entering the Bredco Port.
Earlier this month, the M/V Sea Music, which originated from the Chinese port city of Ningde, was refused entry into San Carlos City waters. The vessel was later allowed to anchor off Sipaway Island after the operator of the vessel appealed on “humanitarian grounds” as the vessel was not able to stock up on food and freshwater while in China.
Officials from the PCG and Bureau of Quarantine visited the vessel while in the province and confirmed the crew were in good health and no one was experiencing any sickness while en route to the country.
The vessel later left for Amlan, Negros Oriental after completing its provisioning process./DGB, WDJ