Monday, April 25, 2022

PH now has 9 active crew change hubs as Zamboanga, Iloilo, and Palawan hubs open to receive seafarers

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Pursuant to the order given by Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Art Tugade to establish more crew change hubs across the country, three more crew change hubs became operational in the ports of Zamboanga, Iloilo and in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.The new crew change hubs were activated on March 14, March 21 and April 8, 2022, respectively. The DOTr Maritime Sector led the opening of the new crew change hubs, comprised of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), the Office of Transportation Security (OTS), and the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), together with other concerned government agencies.

With the additional crew change hubs, the Philippines now has 9 active crew change hubs joining the Manila South Harbor, Port Capinpin in Orion, Bataan, Sasa Wharf in Davao, and Batangas, under the PPA. The other two crew change hubs are located in Subic and Cebu.

The country introduced the crew change hubs to process the documents needed to facilitate the movement of both on-signers and off-signers amid the global pandemic, recognizing the vital contribution of seafarers to the country’s economy.

The establishment of crew change hubs across the country is part of the measures adopted to keep maritime operations ongoing despite the strict health protocols being enforced amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The crew change hubs are staffed by the following government agencies: the DOTr and its attached agencies: Office for Transportation Security (OTS), Cebu Port Authority (CPA), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), the Department of Health (DOH), Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ), the Bureau of Customs (BOC), Bureau of Immigration (BI), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Overseas Workers Welfare Organization (OWWA), the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), and by the various provincial and local government units.

Transportation Secretary Art Tugade welcomed the activation of the new crew change hubs while stressing that the DOTr Maritime Sector and the other involved government agencies remain firm in their commitment to make crew changes as efficient as possible while upholding the health and safety of seafarers, especially Filipino mariners.

"It takes a whole maritime approach to make crew changes possible in the country. The various government agencies and the stakeholders that are involved remain firm in their strong and active participation to ensure the continuous operation of these crew change hubs, for our maritime industry champions: our Filipino seafarers,” Secretary Tugade said.

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