The International Maritime Employer’s Council (IMEC) and the International Transport Worker’s Federation (ITF) have set up quarantine and testing facilities in Manila to facilitate crew changes and address concerns about quarantine quality and fake COVID-19 tests.
The facilities can currently have up to 300 seafarers stay for a 14-day quarantine in two Manila hotels which are open from 28 October. The seafarers will have COVID-19 tests upon arrival and departure, stay in single occupancy rooms with meals delivered and receive ongoing temperature checks.
“We want members to book rooms as soon as possible, to make sure the initiative is successful. If it is successful, we hope to open similar facilities in India and Ukraine,” says Francesco Gargiulo, CEO of IMEC, who hopes that many of IMEC’s members will use the initiative, despite the additional cost.
Crew change hubs have expressed concerns about the quality of the quarantine seafarers used and a few cases of fake coronavirus tests have raised some concerns.
To avoid tampering with the test certificates, the project has partnered with a Hong Kong-based technology company, which provides a secure health pass using blockchain technology.
To help ensure the quality of the quarantine, the government of Singapore backs Bureau Veritas auditing of the facility itself, and IMEC hopes for public endorsements by countries such as Singapore and Australia.