Port authority tightens border controls to keep Delta coronavirus from spreading

THE PHILIPPINE Ports Authority (PPA) said it has imposed stricter border-control measures at all ports to contain the spread of the Delta variant of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

In a memorandum dated July 30 and signed by PPA General Manager Jay Daniel R. Santiago, the agency said it will strictly enforce regulations regarding the notice of arrival for vessels as well as applications for berthing or anchorage.

The notice of arrival should be submitted at least 48 hours prior to arrival or before any delivery of cargo inside the port for loading, the agency said in a statement.

The notice of arrival may also include a crew list with detailed information about the persons on board, it added.

As for berthing or anchorage, the agency said the application should be submitted at least 24 hours for vessels on scheduled runs and 36 hours for tramping vessels.

“Coordination shall be made, as applicable, with the Bureau of Customs, Bureau of Immigration, Bureau of Quarantine, and Philippine Coast Guard on matters affecting border protocols,” according to the memorandum.

“Crew change or disembarkation shall continue to be done only at PPA ports identified as crew change hubs.”

The PPA also said there will be no boarding by pilots until submission of “free pratique” and clearance by the Bureau of Quarantine or Department of Health boarding team.

The memorandum was addressed to port managers, terminal operators and cargo handling operators, shipping lines and shipping agents, and pilots and pilotage associations.

The Ports authority said its directives are in accordance with the July 29 resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases or IATF. — Arjay L. Balinbin