Authorities monitor anchored ship in Batangas after 28 seafarers contract COVID-19

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 9) — Dozens of crew members of a ship currently docked in Batangas have tested positive for COVID-19, the Philippine Coast Guard said on Monday.

In a Facebook post Monday evening, the PCG said 28 out of 82 crew members of M/V Saint Anthony de Padua sailed from Batangas to Caticlan and back without any passengers onboard.

Upon arriving in Batangas, one seafarer experienced symptoms and was made to undergo a RT-PCR test. He then tested positive for the disease.

Tests done on the seafarer’s companions on the ship yielded 27 positive results, added the PGC.

Three out of the 28 COVID-19 patients are currently isolating at San Juan Doctors Hospital, Golden Gate General Hospital, and Chateau Royale Kalinga Hotel with the assistance of the Batangas provincial health office.

The Coast Guard likewise clarified that the remaining 25 crew members who tested positive remain isolated in the ship and are receiving medical assistance from the doctor onboard.

Batangas Port Manager Joselito Sinocruz earlier told CNN Philippines’ Balitaan that shipping line 2GO is coordinating with authorities on the incident. A real-time vessel traffic management system is also in place so they can communicate with the head of the vessel from time to time.

“Nakatutok naman ang PHO (provincial health office) – Batangas sa pagbibigay ng karagdagang tulong sa iba pang tripulante na nananatili sa naturang barko na naka-angkla sa Bauan Bay,” the PCG said.

[Translation: The PHO – Batangas remains focused on providing assistance to other seafarers onboard the ship currently docked at Bauan Bay.]

Meanwhile, in a separate statement, 2GO said it has suspended all M/V St. Anthony de Padua trips while it is anchored off Batangas. It also said there are no passengers currently on the ship.

"Furthermore, we are closely working with both local government units and national authorities for active case investigation and contact tracing to track passengers who may have come into direct contact with the crew," it added.