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BI sends home nearly 10,000 foreign seafarers

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has already sent back to their home countries nearly 10,000 foreign seafarers who were stranded for many weeks aboard cruise ships that were anchored at the Manila Bay since April due to the coronavirus pandemic.

(MANILA BULLETIN)

In a report to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, BI seaport operations chief Alnazib Decampong said that as of August 19, a total of 9,854 alien seamen were already processed and cleared to leave the country.

Decampong said the seafarers were escorted by BI personnel to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) upon leaving their cruise ships so they could board their flights.

He added that the foreign crewmen were only allowed to disembark from their ships after they underwent RT-PCR swab tests by Philippine Coast Guard personnel and were found negative for the coronavirus.

Decampong also disclosed that since April, 2020, more than 19,300 Filipino seamen have already been  reunited with their families after being stranded aboard the vessels that were anchored at the Manila Bay.

“Like their foreign counterparts, these Pinoy seamen were also swab tested and declared to be free of the virus before they were cleared by our inspectors and sent off to their respective hometowns,” he said.

The BI official said that his office is strictly adhering to the guidelines imposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on the conduct of COVID testing for all arriving and departing seafarers.

“We have to ensure that all these seamen will not endanger the health and safety of their loved ones when they come home and reunite with their families,” Decampong said.

Statistics showed that the 30,000 Filipino and foreign seafarers who were cleared by the BI were crew members of 57 cruise ships that were anchored at the Manila Bay since April when the pandemic started.

“There are only four vessels remaining in the anchorage with only a few crewmen aboard who were left to maintain the ship before their outbound voyage,” Decampong said.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2020/08/21/bi-sends-home-nearly-10000-foreign-seafarers/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=bi-sends-home-nearly-10000-foreign-seafarers)

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