by Vic V. Vizcocho, Jr.
THE 19-man crew of a ferry ship from Japan that entered Subic Bay last Wednesday will not be allowed to disembark and shall remain aboard the Ship.
According to Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma, the MV Stena Nova arrived on April 22 and is on “lay-up,” and may stay in Subic Bay for 60-90 days, awaiting its “next charter.”
“There is no discharging, berthing or crew change activities,” Eisma said, “that’s only allowed in Manila right now,” referring to Resolutions no. 23 and 24 of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases issued on April 16, 2020 as part of efforts to prevent the spread of the Wuhan Virus (COVID-19).
The ship’s crew is composed of 17 Filipinos, including the ship Captain, and two (2) Koreans. “There is even no request to disembark,” Eisma said.
As to the ship’s food and other provision requirements, Eisma said “usually stocked sila, if they are not, tina-tug-boat iyan papunta sa kanila ng ship agent,” adding that it is standard practice in Port Operations.
The MV Stena Nova is a 195-meter x 26-Meter Ro-Ro passenger ship capable of carrying more than 700 passengers and hundreds of both light and heavy vehicles.
The ship left the port of Kure Kawajiri, Japan on April 14 and arrived in Subic Bay on April 22, days after the IATF Resolutions were issued.
However, Eisma said she does not see any violation in the case of the MV Stena Nova with its crew in Subic Bay. While Eisma said the crew will not be allowed off the ship, it is unclear if they will remain so for as long as the ship is anchored in the Bay.
Earlier, despite the intercession of the Philippine Embassy in the United States, the SBMA denied the entry to Subic Bay of a “bigger ship,” identified by other sources to be the MV Majestic Princess because, Eisma said, “the current IATF guidelines does not allow ports other than Manila.” (VVV)