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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

11 out of 19 crew members found COVID-19 positive

Crewmen barred from disembarking at Albay

MANILA – Government authorities in the Bicol Region today reported 11 out of 19 crew aboard MV TUG Clyde and Barge Claudia were found to be COVID-19 positive based on results obtained from the Department of Health in CARAGA Region.

In their meeting chaired by Regional Task Force Bicol chairperson and OCD Director Claudio L. Yucot, he said “as of 7:00 A.M. today, MV TUG Clyde and Barge Claudia have anchored offshore, some one to two kilometers away from New Horizon Port, a privately owned pier, in Barangay Lidong, Sto. Domingo town in Albay.”

They had raw materials to be used in a cement factory in Albay province from Indonesia.

The vessels arrived between 6:00-7:00 A.M. today from Masao Port, Butuan City in CARAGA Region. The crew members will have their 14-day quarantine period inside their vessels and barred from docking.

According to the Office of Civil Defense in Legazpi City, they could not identify the COVID-19 variant and DOH CARAGA submitted specimens for genome sequencing to categorize the case whether it’s Delta variant or not. It may take 20-30 days before Health authorities release their findings.

The vessel was cleared to travel by the Philippine Ports Authority in CARAGA Region last Thursday, July 15, after port authorities checked on the necessary papers the vessel had in its possession even before the results of their RT PCR tests were released.

“While they were at sea, they were informed that 11 of the 19 crew members contracted COViD-19,” the statement revealed.

It was learned the ship left Indonesia last July 1,2021 and docked at Butuan City to replenish their water and food last July 14, 2021.

The Albay Provincial Police Command has been tasked to cover land security of the port together with the Philippine Coast Guard to cover maritime events. The vessel owner and the port owner are helping both the crew and the captain and other officers.

The Regional IMT targets to move or tow the barge at the soonest possible time. It has 8,000 metric tons of coal purchased from Indonesia. The seafarers’ employer will provide food while medical requirements will be provided by the Regional Anti-COVID-19.

The Regional Task Force will render its report to the National Task Force to investigate if there were protocols breached since the vessels and crew were released and cleared pending results of the RT-PCR tests.

The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Bicol received information about the vessel last July 17 and coordinated with concerned agencies and Regional Task Force – CARAGA while the vessels were sailing to Albay.

The vessel regularly plies the Legazpi-Indonesia-Legazpi route to export goods to Indonesia and import raw materials needed by the cement plant in Camalig town from its suppliers in Indonesia. (Melo M. Acuna)

Philippine Coast Guard elements monitoring the crew of MV Tug Clyde and barge Claudia in Albay Gulf. (Video courtesy of Philippine Coast Guard)

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