Residents of Barangay West Canayaon, Bohol expressed their unease over the presence of Chinese-manned cargo vessel MV Fortune Tiger at the village port which will load limestones per the request of the Philippine Mining Service Corp. (PMSC) amidst the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak in the country.
According to an Inquirer report, the vessel arrived on February 4 and was instructed to stay within ten nautical miles from the PMSC’s port as it waits for clearance from the Bureau of Quarantine. The vessel was allowed to drop anchor three days after as none of the crew members showed symptoms of the nCoV.
“They were cleared by officials and they had complete papers,” Village Chief Joeritz Baybay was quoted as saying in the report.
However, despite using face masks, the presence of Chinese crew members still unnerved the villagers; thus, Town Mayor Tita Baja sent a letter to PMSC Resident Manager Engr. Paul Espina, asking him to not allow the crew to disembark.
In related news, San Carlos City Mayor Renato Gustilo had already issued an executive order directing all vessels from China, Hong Kong, and Macau to proceed to the ports of Cebu or Manila as there are no quarantine facilities and qualified quarantine personnel in the city.
“Under no circumstance must such vessels be allowed to lay, berth, dock, or anchor in any port of the territorial waters of San Carlos City, Negros Occidental,” Gustilo said.
Thus, in light of the implemented order, crew members of an international cargo ship from the port of Ningde, China, was prohibited from disembarking and was ordered to proceed to Cebu upon its arrival between the San Carlos City port and Sipaway Island on February 06.
According to the chief of the Philippine Coast Guard in Negros Occidenatal, Lt. Cmdr. Jansen Benjamin, the ship has no cargo and was supposed to have a cold lay-up, or to park, at the port of San Carlos City upon further notice by its company.