THE ferry ship MV Stena Nova has left Subic Bay shortly before 3 PM today (Thursday, July 9) after 78 days afloat at the bay’s anchorage area with it’s 19-man crew who were barred to disembark due to the ongoing COVID19 Pandemic.
The ship, formerly named Hankyu Yamato, was bought by the Swedish Stena RORO early this year and travelled to Subic from Japan in April to weather the height of virus-related lockdowns all over the world before proceeding to its final destination in Europe.
“It’s a pity that for all of us, it is the first time ever that a ship we are on came to our motherland but we are not allowed to disembark, nor our families be able to board our vessel,” lamented engine man Aljon Solis, one of Stena Nova’s 17 Filipino crew that includes the Captain. The other two personnel are Koreans.
The all-male crew couldn’t care less about the various quarantine levels imposed in the Subic Bay Freeport, the Philippines’ Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases did not allow international ferry personnel from getting off their respective vessels anywhere in the country except in Manila.
“We’ve been fully-quarantined, sobra-sobra na nga pero wala kaming magawa kundi sumunod,” Solis said, “inaaliw na lang namin ang sarili sa mga ‘Sabado Nights’ parties kung saan tuwing Sabado, may lechon at ibang handa, may kantahan bukod sa kainan.”
According to Solis, they had all the provisions they need for months before leaving Japan for the Philippines, and their ship agent arranges for additional supplies when necessary.
Stena Nova is expected to arrive in Labuan, Malaysia on Sunday, before proceeding to Greece at an unannounced date in preparation for deployment as a RO-Ro passenger ship after being rebuilt to become fully-adapted to European standards. (Vic V. Vizcocho, Jr. / publisher)