MV Metis Leader had onboard three seafarers, including the ship’s captain, working for more than 15 months and six others who have been on board for 12 to 14 months.
According to Olalia, the 29 Filipino crewmen underwent COVID-19 tests and produced negative results before they were deployed to China. “I assured them (Chinese embassy officials) there is no issue over integrity because the testing facilities accredited by the Department of Health don’t fabricate results,” he said.
Bulk carriers Patricia Oldendorff and Vega Dream arrived in Australia with multiple cases of Covid-19 onboard, a fortnight apart, and both from Manila, sending West Australian health minister Roger Cook requesting miners to seek alternate places for crew prior to their arrival in Australian waters and prompted the federal government in Canberra to ensure that Filipino authorities strengthen their maritime crew arrangements.
ETA Subic Bay: September 23. The missile-frigate BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) ship and the 125 contingent aboard will do a ‘show the flag’ mission in Benham Rise and near Fuga Island en route to Subic,” Philippine Navy (PN) public affairs office chief, Lt. Commander Maria Christina Roxas said in a message to the Philippine News Agency.
Now called the Philippine Rise, and formerly Benham Rise, is an extinct volcanic ridge located in the Philippine Sea approximately 250 km east of the northern coastline of Dinapigue, Isabela. Fuga Island, meanwhile, is located north of Luzon, part of the Babuyan archipelago, which is the second-northernmost island group of the Philippines.
“These numbers are subject to change, depending on the situation that may affect a ship’s arrival in Manila Bay,” a letter signed by International Mariners Management Association of Japan (IMMAJ) chairman Captain Koichi Akamine addressed to the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) read.
The letter also thanked the PPA for opening the Port of Capinpin, noting that the Philippines is one of the few countries in the world that remained open for crew changes.
“This time, you have opened another door by enabling us to use Bataan. We would again appreciate your understanding and cooperation as well as the time and efforts you dedicated to the shipping industry,” the IMMAJ said.
With a complete assemblage of mission essential equipment, integrated logistics support system, and munitions, Bacordo expects pilots and aircrew of the AW159s to be fully trained and to further improve on the use of weapons to gain proficiency in handling them. The two AW159s were acquired to complement the anti-surface warfare (ASW) capabilities of the Jose Rizal-class frigates. The helicopters arrived in May 2019 and were immediately commissioned on June of the same year. Total cost for the munitions, mission essential equipment, and integrated logistics support is PhP 5.4 billion.
“The Philippine Navy contingent took advantage of the Rim of the Pacific 2020 to train as a team, put the ship at pace with possible real-world scenarios, and got the crew to gel,” said PH Navy commander Vice Admiral Giovanni Bacordo.
As this developed, US 3rd Fleet and RIMPAC20 commander Vice Admiral Scott Conn, during the closing ceremony on Tuesday (Wednesday, Manila time), visited the area where the ships of the 10 participating nations — including the Philippines’ BRP Jose Rizal — are docked to congratulate them for taking part in the exercise.
“We strengthened relationships and deepened our sense of trust in one another. Each one of our navies has something to offer and that diverse range of knowledge and professionalism is what makes us stronger, and allows us to work together to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region and ultimately, our collective prosperity,” Bacordo added.