Effects of COVID-19 on Philippine Shipping Operations

The enhanced community quarantine and lockdown measures imposed in response to COVID-19 have had quite significant effects on various operations in different industries. The shipping field is no different, with more than half of the operations experiencing delays, cancellations, or incompletion because of the quarantine protocols laying out limitations for travel and transportation. The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) gathered data from the operations during the latter half of March.

According to MARINA, the percentage of the operations that were affected by said protocols was 53%. These included both cargo and passenger ships. Additionally, between cargo and passenger operations, the former fared better with about 83% going off without a hitch. In contrast, only 33% of passenger vessels were able to complete their operations normally.

Going into the specifics, the data revealed that on a daily basis, the average numbers were the following: 101 completed properly, 94 cancelled, 15 delayed, and 5 not finished.

MARINA explained that each of the three setbacks mentioned generally had a factor that contributed to them happening. The restrictions in the ports because of the lockdown were the main reason for the cancelled trips. For those that had delays, it was mostly due to inspections, congestion, and other ships taking priority. For the incomplete voyages, the main factor was either due to the journey still in progress or issues when docking.

Despite these challenges, MARINA assured that the necessary supplies will still be delivered despite the restrictions.

Overall, there were 3,416 shipping operations from March 16 to 31, consisting of 2,446 passenger vessels and 970 cargo ships.

Now more than ever, it’s important for such operations to continue so that people in quarantine can survive while the frontliners do their best to combat and stop the spread. And in the future, how the maritime industry responds to such crises of this scale should be part of the basic training for seamen so aspiring seafarers can be prepared in case of a similar pandemic.

(Philippine Canadian Inquirer)

Pinoy Seafarers And Their Connection To The Church

It’s no secret that Pinoy seafarers play a huge part in the country’s economic growth. Aspirants undergo basic training for seamen so they can be deployed and serve the country accordingly. Indeed, more than 300,000+ seafarers were responsible for bringing in $6.14 billion or around P318.55 billion worth of remittances last year. 22% of dollar remittances from OFWs also came from this job sector. More than these contributions, however, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle also brought up the role of seafarers in spreading the Word of the Lord during his speech at the 24th National Seafarers’ Day (NSD) at the Paco Arena last September 29.

To solidify his point, Tagle mentioned the seafaring professions of figures from the Bible such as Andrew, Peter, James and John, and more. In a past NSD celebration, he also brought up the lives of San Lorenzo Ruiz and San Pedro Calungsod, who were seafarers, missionaries, and most of all, martyrs.

Capping off his speech, Tagle stressed that in their journey to a successful career, Filipino seafarers must keep their faith in the Lord, must never forget their home country, and must always help those in need. He also added that seafarers experiencing homesickness should not let it consume them, but rather, push them to do better.

The National Seafarers’ Day is an annual celebration first established by former President Fidel V. Ramos in 1996 through Proclamation No. 828. Previously celebrated on August 18, Ramos then issued Proclamation No. 1094 a year later to move the celebration to that last Sunday of September.

This year’s NSD was organized by the Apostleship of the Sea (AOS) Philippines and ran with the theme Marinong Filipino – Kababaihan: Palakasin sa Industriya! The event is celebrated in line with the National Maritime Week, which is led by Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).

Events such as the NSD serve to applaud and give due praise to the Filipinos of the maritime industry who work tirelessly in the name of economic growth. Among other activities, masses such as the one presided by Tagle are held to reaffirm the strong faith of seafarers in God. They also serve as avenues to remind every seafarer to do their duties not just for their families and for their country, but also for the Creator above.

(Cebu Daily News)