Mass testing of 7,000 returning seafarers is proving to be quite a difficult job for the Philippine Coast Guard(PCG) onboard some 18 cruise ships that have presently gathered in Manila Bay.
‘Gold standard’ COVID testing has been adopted by the Filipino authorities, which includes the PCG as well as the Bureau of Quarantine(BOQ).
Authorities estimate that a minimum of one week time will be required to test all the seafarers onboard the 18 cruise ships.
The crew can then disembark and wait for the outcomes offshore. Those who are deemed as negative as per the tests will be handed a certificate of completion, enabling them to return to their families on all available modes of transport.
Authorities seconded the thoughts that those seafarers who quarantined aboard the ship while on their way to Manila would be allowed to descend in order to reunite with their families as soon as possible.
Within two weeks, many seafarers are expected to return to the country as per the Department of Foreign Affairs(DFA), taking the total number of unemployed Overseas Filipino Workers(OFWs) repatriated by DFA to 24000.
The Magsaysay crew manning agency said that many more cruise ships we’re expected in the weeks to come.
Amongst the 18 ships currently anchored in Manila Bay, Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Line account for most of the ships.