Albay authorities monitor tugboat with suspected COVID-hit crew
LEGAZPI CITY — Local officials and maritime agencies in this city are monitoring the movements of a tug boat towing a barge that is set to arrive at this city’s port on the afternoon of Tuesday, July 20, with 12 crew members who allegedly tested positive for COVID-19.
Gremil Naz, Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Bicol spokesperson, said the agency has put the Bicol Pandemic Task Force and the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) on the alert status on Saturday, July 17, for the arrival of MVTUG Clyde and Barge Claudia on Tuesday at 5 p.m.
The 258 gross ton tugboat and barge are reportedly transporting coal with 20 crew members. It is reportedly owned and operated by Nathaniel Uy, a resident of Barangay San Vicente in Milaor town, Camarines Sur province.
The vessel’s last port of call was Indonesia before arriving at the port of Butuan on Thursday, July 14, at around 12:30 a.m.
Naz, in an interview Sunday, said that there was no information yet about the purpose of the vessel’s port of call in Indonesia and why it docked in Butuan port.
The OCD has denied an earlier report that the tugboat has sailed for Albay without seeking clearance from maritime authorities in Butuan port.
Naz said the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) in CARAGA cleared and allowed the vessel to sail.
The agency also could not yet confirm whether the tugboat’s 12 crew members were infected by the Delta variant.
The OCD has contacted the owner of the vessel. Uy has assured the agency that the vessel and its crew will comply with all health protocols set by the pandemic task force and the Legazpi City Inter-Agency Task Force once it arrives on Tuesday.
The tugboat will then be kept offshore with its crew members to remain onboard until health, maritime, and customs authorities have completed their inspections.
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