Lack of tug boats delays in crew change at Manila Port

The president of the newly established Alliance of Local Manning Agencies (ALMA), Ms. Cristina Garcia, has confirmed the congestion of international ships in Manila Bay that causes delays in carrying out crew change.

Ms. Garcia, also president and CEO of the manning company Blue Ocean Marine & Offshore Solutions, told veteran journalist Malou Talosig during the last Usapang CQ that, as of August 8, there were 53 foreign-flagged ships all waiting their turn to do crew change.

She identified several factors that causing the congestion in Manila Bay that resulted in two to three days delays in executing crew swap whereas before it only takes about six hours.

One factor, Ms. Garcia said, was the limited number of tug boats available to transport the joining crew to their respective ships and bring the disembarking seafarers to the pier.

Also, it was reported that there were only few officials from the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) who do the inspection onboard. “Before there was only one; they just increased it to four (BOQ officials).”

Add to these, the inclement weather last weekend that prevented boarding officers to come onboard.

Because of the situation in the Port of Manila, Ms. Garcia disclosed that government officials led by DOTr Usec. Raul del Rosario and Maritime Industry Authority Administrator VAdm. Robert Empedrad were rushing the opening of Subic and Bataan for crew swap. 

Ms. Garcia, who joined the negotiations with local government officials of Subic and Bataan, could not give an exact date when would these ports available for crew change.

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