Cargo vessel captain may face charges for ‘misdeclaring’ departure date from China to evade quarantine

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 29) – The Philippine Coast Guard is considering filing charges against a Panama-flagged cargo ship’s captain who supposedly lied about the date he sailed from China possibly to escape the two-week mandatory quarantine imposed on individuals coming from countries affected by the novel coronavirus.

“PCG will coordinate with the Bureau of Quarantine to identify possible criminal charges if MV Harmony 6 will be found guilty of mentioned violations,” the coast guard said.

MV Harmony 6’s Captain Luu Van Loi claimed that he and other crew members departed Changzhou, China on February 10 and arrived in La Union in the northern Philippines on February 23 to make it appear they completed the quarantine period, PCG said in a Friday statement. There were 18 Vietnamese and 5 Indian crewmen on board the ship, it added. ​The quarantine is a prerequisite for a vessel coming from any country with reported cases of the coronavirus, now called COVID-19, to secure a port clearance, the coast guard noted.​​​​​​

However, upon validation of the ship’s activities, the PCG learned the MV Harmony 6 left Changzhou on February 18. The ship also purportedly turned off its automatic tracking system from February 19 to 23 or before arriving at the Port of Poro Point in La Union.

Upon learning that they skirted the quarantine protocol imposed by Philippines authorities, the ship was kept under detention at Poro Point while an investigation about their violations was being conducted.