COVID-19 stricken ship leaves for Vietnam
The M/V Athens Bridge (left), a cargo vessel with a dozen Filipino seafarers infected with COVID after a port call in India, is anchored off Sangley Point in Cavite last Thursday.
DOTR, PCG images

COVID-19 stricken ship leaves for Vietnam

Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - May 17, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — After nine days of staying in Manila Bay, the Panamanian-flagged vessel M/V Athens Bridge that had 12 crewmembers infected with COVID-19 has left for Vietnam.

Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Cavite station commander Lieutenant Michael John Encina yesterday said the cargo ship departed for Vietnam on Friday night.

“According to the Vessel Traffic Management System (VTMS) Corregidor, the M/V Athens Bridge departed for Vietnam last May 14 at 7 p.m.,” Encina said.

The international vessel stayed at the anchorage area of Manila Bay, specifically at 5.2 nautical miles (10 kilometers) off Sangley Point in Cavite for nine days. It arrived there last May 6.

It had 21 crewmen, all Filipino, and 12 of them were infected with the coronavirus disease. Of the 12, nine were found with the Indian B.1.617.2 COVID-19 variant.

“All the clearance needed prior to departure have been completed by the ship,” Encina said.

He added that before the vessel departed, it also “changed crew,” which means those who were infected with COVID-19 disembarked and have been receiving medical treatment, aside from following quarantine protocols.

The sick crewmen were also replaced with other Filipino seafarers.

Since the M/V Athens Bridge was allowed to lower its anchors in Cavite waters and seek medical treatment for its COVID-19 stricken crew, the PCG provided security to the ship to make sure that other boats would keep their distance.

Encina had ordered their Cavite station and the Noveleta and Rosario substations to conduct “rotational deployment in the area as part of their maritime security patrol.”

Last May 6, the PCG also delivered 10 oxygen tanks to be used by those afflicted with the virus.

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