GREEN LANE. Government officials show the signed joint circular for Philippine Green Lane during a live-streamed ceremony in Pasay City on Thursday (July 2, 2020). The joint circular sets process flows for seafarers, licensed manning agencies, shipping companies, airlines, and other entities involved in facilitating crew change and repatriation of mariners during the pandemic. (Screenshot from DFA’s Youtube live stream)

MANILA – The government is establishing a green lane to facilitate the speedy and safe travel of seafarers, including their swift disembarkation during the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

The joint circular for the “Philippine Green Lane” was signed Thursday by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Interior Undersecretary Bernardo Florece Jr., and Justice Assistant Secretary Nicholas Ty.

Locsin said the circular answers the call of the International Maritime Organization to put in place a framework for safe crew changes for thousands of sailors who need to leave their ships.

“We agree with the International Maritime Organization that the current situation is unsustainable for the safety and well-being of the ship crew and the safe operation of maritime trade,” he said.

“We need to address the situation of the world’s seafarers without whom there would be no shipping and who ensure the maintenance of global supply chains,” he added.

The joint circular serves as a guideline and sets process flows for seafarers, licensed manning agencies, shipping companies, airlines and other entities involved in facilitating crew change and repatriation of mariners during the pandemic. (PNA)