Foreign cargo vessel barred from docking at isle off Eastern Samar due to COVID-19 scare | Inquirer News
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Foreign cargo vessel barred from docking at isle off Eastern Samar due to COVID-19 scare

/ 03:41 PM April 05, 2020

TACLOBAN CITY — The mayor of Guiuan town in Eastern Samar has instructed the local police and the Philippine Coast Guard not to allow a foreign cargo vessel to dock at Homonhon Island as a  precautionary measure against the spread of the coronavirus disease or COVID-19.

Mayor Annaliz Gonzales-Kwan said her move to prohibit MV WV Peace cargo vessel from docking at Homonhon Island was intended to ensure the safety of people living on the island.

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The Panamanian-registered vessel, which came from the Davao port, is supposed to collect chromite ore of the Techirone Mining Company in Homonhon Island.

The vessel has 13 Chinese and four other crew members who are from Myanmar.

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The cargo vessel is currently anchored off the Pacific Coast, three nautical miles away from the historic island where Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan landed 499 years ago.

“I already directed our police here together with the Coast Guard to serve the executive order which prohibits the entry of foreign or domestic vessel in the province during this time when we try to contain the spread of COVID-19,” Gonzales-Kwan said in a phone interview.

Guiuan town currently has four patients under investigation (PUIs) and 34 persons under monitoring (PUMs) for the COVID-19.

Earlier, Fr. Christian Ofilan, the parish priest of St. John the Baptist on Homonhon Island, issued a statement opposing the loading of chromite ore in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This issue has given our people undue anxiety over their safety,” he said.

Mayor Gonzales-Kwan said the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) had issued an ore transport permit in favor of the Techirone Mining Company .

“I was informed by the DENR (Depatment of Environment and Natural Resources that the ore transport permit is good for 30 days. We hope that this permit should be suspended while we are still facing this crisis,” Gonzales-Kwan said.

AU

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