Ebola precaution: PH to check ships' last 5 ports of call
MANILA, Philippines – As a precaution against the possible spread of the deadly Ebola virus, Philippines maritime agencies will be enforcing stricter measures on international cargo ships and passenger vessels before they are allowed to dock on the country's ports.
Particularly, the Port State Control unit of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) would be looking into the last 5 ports that vessels have and assess the threat of Ebola in those countries.
“The purpose of the maritime industry is to assess the risk of Ebola. We would monitor the last five ports of call made by the ships, prior to its arrival to the Philippines, to check if the places they have been to had any reports of Ebola cases, such as those from Africa and Spain,” said the PCG spokesperson, Commander Armand Balilo.
A maritime safety bulletin has been issued by PCG to other agencies.
“Ship masters are reminded to notify the nearest PCG station on the existence of the virus-related conditions on their vessels and advance notices of ship arrivals to determine if a vessel has recently visited an Ebola-affected port,” Balilo said.
The Maritime Industry Authority said officers and crew members of vessels should “be properly screened through the use of a thermal gun and subjected to a physical examination.”
Quarantine medical personnel will be present at ports to conduct the scanning.
Ship masters are required to submit a Maritime Declaration of Health, Balilo said. The document will indicate if any of the crew or passengers have been showing symptoms of the Ebola virus during the trip.
For any postive indication of Ebola cases, the PCG will notify the Bureau of Quarantine, Balilo said. – Rappler.com