DOTr orders probe of COVID-19 stricken RoRo vessel

Published by rudy Date posted on August 14, 2021

by Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star), 14 Aug 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has ordered an investigation after 28 crewmembers of roll-on roll-off vessel MV Saint Anthony de Padua tested positive for COVID-19.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade directed the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to investigate possible lapses that led to the incident.

The DOTr said 25 crewmembers were found infected aside from three others who disembarked at the Port of Batangas without securing a permit from the PPA. The three reportedly suffered severe symptoms.

The shipping company informed the PCG and PPA about the incident days after the three left the vessel.

The DOTr said initial investigation showed the vessel continued to transport passengers despite indications that its crewmembers were infected.

The PPA Port Management Office in Batangas issued a show-cause order to the shipping company on Wednesday. The Marina-Calabarzon office suspended the vessel’s passenger safety certificate.

A medical team was hired by the shipping company to monitor the condition of the infected crewmembers.

“The country’s maritime transport authorities call on the riding public to report shipping companies and vessels that are found to be violating the established health protocols of the national government. This is to maintain the safety of both the sea-riding public and vessel crew amid the pandemic,” the DOTr said.

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