PPA sets procedures for ships from China, territories


The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) has issued port protocols geared toward preventing the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-2019).

PPA Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 02-2020, dated and effective February 12, is in conjunction with relevant advisories issued by the Bureau of Quarantine (BoQ), Bureau of Immigration, Interagency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases, and other concerned government agencies regarding COVID-19.

It also follows President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to ban travel to and from China and its special administrative regions (SARs)—Macau and Hong Kong—and Taiwan.

READ: Ships from China still welcome in PH, says PPA

MC 02-2020 applies to all arriving ships that have called at any port in China, its SARs, and Taiwan, and all arriving ships with crew and/or passengers who have travelled to China, its SARs, and Taiwan in the past 14 days.

The order noted that all PPA ports remain open to all ships, except cruise ships, from, or had port calls in, China, Macau, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, regardless of the 14-day incubation period of disease, provided they have been boarded at quarantine anchorage.

But on February 14, the restriction on Taiwan was lifted. Following this development, PPA general manager Atty. Jay Daniel Santiago, in a text message to PortCalls, said “instructions have already been made to all PMOs [port management offices] to remove Taiwan from the list for immediate implementation.” He added that an MC implementing the exclusion “will be issued forthwith asap.”

Quarantine anchorage is an anchorage for ships waiting for “free pratique,” or the license given to a ship to enter a port on the assurance that she is free of contagious diseases.

In addition, ships cleared at the first port of entry and calling another local port within the 14-day period from China, Macau, Hong Kong, and Taiwan must also be boarded at the designated quarantine anchorage by a quarantine maritime officer.

After the quarantine and boarding formalities, ships will be allowed to berth and discharge/load cargoes, but embarkation/disembarkation of crew will be strictly disallowed.

Ships calling in the Philippines more than 14 days after calling at a port in China, Macau, Hong Kong, and Taiwan will be allowed entry without restrictions.

MC 02-2020 also states that PPA regulations on the filing of Notice of Arrivals and Applications for Berth/Anchorage will be strictly complied with.

Port Management Offices (PMOs) and Terminal Management Offices (TMOs) must receive the Maritime Declaration of Health, crew list/passenger list, current copy of Ship Sanitation Certificate, last five ports call list, Waste on Board Vessel Information Form, and other related documents, preferably 24 hours, but not less than eight hours, before vessel arrival, for encoding into PPA’s computer system.

Pilotage services will continue to be rendered, provided that no boarding will be made prior to the submission of free patique by the vessel’s master and clearance from the BoQ boarding team.

The disposal of garbage such as, but not limited to, food products, animal products and infectious wastes generated from the vessel will not be allowed in PPA ports. Discharge of other wastes will comply with standard procedures for collection, transport, treatment and/or disposal in accordance with existing environment rules and regulations.

Terminal operators, ship operators, pilot associations, and concerned port service providers should adhere closely to the health advisories issued by BoQ for compliance by personnel who will be involved in the ship’s loading and discharging cargoes. They should also ensure adequate supply of appropriate personal protection equipment and medical equipment, and undertake training to familiarize port personnel on their usage.

Areas designated as “restricted/quarantined area” in the port should be delineated as such with appropriate warning signs, markings, and appropriate security level in force; barriers; and access control points.

PMOs, TMOs, and terminal operators should establish a port security advisory committee, which will coordinate, communicate, and facilitate implementation of acceptable safety and health measures at ports.

Terminal operators, cargo-handling operators, pilotage associations, and other local port stakeholders and industrial partners should continue to monitor the evolving measures and work closely with partner agencies like BoQ and the Department of Health, among others, to implement appropriate, effective, and additional measures, if needed.

The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19—which was first detected in Wuhan, Hubei, China—as a public health emergency of international concern. The virus has already claimed more than 1,000 deaths and infected thousands in many countries worldwide. – Roumina Pablo

Photo from PPA