Filipino manning agencies under the spotlight as Covid-19 crew change crisis continues

With ports in the Far East pulling back on tentative relaxations of crew change regulations amid a re-emergence of cases and concerns that some crews were not being checked with sufficient diligence, the spotlight has fallen on manning agencies in the Philippines, which are responsible for supplying many of the crew in the region.

Singapore has enacted more restrictions on crew changes, and Hong Kong has closed the door on crew changes after concerns that some crew were responsible for the new spike in cases.

Singapore noted that they had discovered that several Filipinos had been ignoring quarantine regulations, while some had presented coronavirus tests that had been altered.

Malaysia has also toughened its stance on crew changes. It is now imposing 14-day quarantine for foreigners arriving at Kuala Lumpur airport.

Carl Martin Faannessen, managing director of Manila-based Abojeb Group, said that “the manning agencies involved should be identified and lose their licence immediately, with no right of appeal. Trust in local regulatory bodies will vaporize unless stern action is taken”.

Faannessen wrote on LinkedIn in a post that  the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) should intercede.