MANILA – The Philippine Navy (PN) on Thursday night said it is taking all precautionary measures to ensure the health and safety of officers and crew of the BRP Bacolod City (LS-550), the logistics vessel tasked to pick up thousands of personal protective equipment (PPE) sets in China.
Navy public affairs office chief Lt. Commander Maria Christina Roxas made this assurance as the loading of 23,385 boxes of PPE sets continues at the Zhangzhou Harbor at the Port of Xiamen.
“The vessel employs as little human contact as possible during the loading and reloading of container vans to ensure the health of its personnel onboard while guaranteeing the unhampered movement of cargo in and out of the ship. Regular conduct of disinfection in the living spaces while continuing its day-to-day operations aboard ship,” she said in a statement.
Chinese contractors who were hired to load the cargo are also subjected to strict security clearance and health screening before they could enter the ship, Roxas added.
Serving as the storerooms of the PPE sets, the 33 container vans onboard were unloaded from the ship.
Paul Shi, a representative from the Philippine Special Envoy to China, supervised the hauling of the PPE at the dock through Chinese contractors represented by Chunshen Company Limited.
The container vans are then loaded with PPE at the China Custom’s warehouse where they are sealed and stored by the supplier and returned to the ship.
BRP Bacolod City arrived in China on April 25 to pick up the PPE sets procured by the Department of Budget and Management for use of the Department of Health to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) threat.
The ship left Sangley Point, Cavite City last April 21.
BRP Bacolod City commanding officer, Commander Rogelio Lachica, said he and his crew are proud to have participated in this mission as this will greatly help in the government’s efforts against Covid-19.
“Just the mere thought na maraming makikinibang na front-liners sa cargoes na dala namin, sulit na upang suungin and peligro pagpunta ng China, at tiisin and anumang lungkot o panganib na aming tatahakin (that many front-liners will benefit from the cargoes that we are bringing, the risk of going to China and the sadness or dangers that we are about to face is worth taking),” he added. (PNA)