New manning group partners with PRC for seafarers’ RT-PCR test

In a bid to strengthen the country’s bid to become a crew change hub, the newly organized Association of Licensed Manning Agencies (ALMA) has forged an agreement with Philippine Red Cross (PRC) to guarantee speedy and hassle-free deployment of Filipino seafarers.

Philippine Red Cross logo | Photo source: FOTW Flags Of The World website at

Under the Memorandum of Agreement between ALMA Maritime Group Corp. and PRC, the new manning group is assured of prompt release of results of reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR ) test of its seafarers at a significantly-lower-than-the-usual cost.

The MOA, without doubt, would help boost the country’s chance to be an attractive crew change hub and contribute in alleviating the crew change crisis triggered by the global pandemic

Under the MOA, the PRC which can administer RT-PCR test as many as 1,300 seafarers a day guarantees the expedited release of test results which will be available within 72 hours  for regular tests, 24 hours for stat tests, and 6 to 8 hours for super stat tests, after the swabbing.

This suits well with some principals who are demanding a 48-hour restrictions to COVID test results for onsigners due to requirement imposed by some countries otherwise, port authorities would not allow them to go onboard their respective vessels.

This special treatment for ALMA seafarers is PRC‘s contribution in facilitating the deployment of seafarers and help in the recovery of the country’s economy which contracted in the last two quarters due to the impact Covid-19 pandemic.

In return, ALMA President Cristina Garcia has expressed appreciation to PRC Chairman Sen. Richard Gordon for the special treatment to seafarers belonging to the new group whose membership has ballooned to 50 crewing companies in matter of months.  ALMA members account for the deployment of over 100,000 seafarers, collectively.

“We are very thankful to Senator Richard Gordon for the help he extended to make this project possible,” Ms. Garcia said.

She is backed by Atty. Iris Baguilat of Döhle Seafront Crewing (Manila) and an ALMA trustee who, along with a handful of crewing executives behind the formation of ALMA, strongly lobbied for policies favorable to the manning community.

Their initiatives paid off, the group was instrumental in the government’s recognition of seafarers as ‘key workers,’ in the issuance of the Joint Circular that paved the way for the creation of green lane and the nation’s bid to emerge as a crew change hub in the region.

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