Vessels from China, Vietnam barred from disembarking at Bacolod port amid coronavirus fears

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Bacolod City (CNN Philippines, February 27) — Cargo vessels from China and Vietnam, with 42 crew members on board, were not allowed to disembark at a port in Bacolod City in separate incidents this week.

The MV Unicorn Bravo arrived at the coastal waters near the Bacolod Real Estate Development Corporation (BREDCO) port Monday night, while the MV BMC Catherine reached near the port Tuesday afternoon.

The MV Unicorn Bravo, carrying ammonium sulfate, came from Xiamen in China on February 20 with 15 Chinese and four Myanmar crew members.

The MV BMC Catherine from Nghi Son Port in Vietnam was loaded with cement. It had 23 crew members, including 19 Vietnamese and four Indian nationals.

Both vessels are still at the port and all the crew were not allowed to disembark to prevent the possible spread of the coronavirus disease in the city, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)-Negros Occidental chief Lieutenant Commander Jansen Benjamin said on Wednesday.

“The PCG is strictly monitoring the vessel. There will be no disembarkation and embarkation pending clearance from the quarantine officer,” he said.

The temperatures of the crew members were taken on Tuesday to check for flu-like symptoms linked to the deadly disease. Medical Quarantine Officer IV, Dr. Sebastian Tabuga conducted an inspection, but he did not board the vessel. He used an instrument that can reach up to 10 meters to take body temperature from a tug boat.

The vessel from Vietnam was allowed to unload its cargo after given clearance by a quarantine officer, Benjamin said. But the crew were not allowed to alight despite their normal temperature due to safety precautions.

Meanwhile, Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia signed Executive Order No. 11 on Wednesday banning the entry into any Bacolod seaport all vessels coming from China, Hong Kong, and Macau. The move is to prevent the spread of coronavirus.