On March 16, 2020, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire Luzon under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). ECQ is a total lockdown restricting all public transportations as well as temporary closure of all non-essential businesses during the COVID 19 pandemic.
On April 2, 2020, Pandiman received an urgent email from the Shipowners about the critical condition of a Russian Captain, a Master of the a Oil/Chemical Tanker. The Shipowners requested assistance for the Captain’s immediate medical evacuation and transportation to a hospital in the Philippines to receive proper medical treatment. He was suffering from fever and was coughing blood. Upon learning this, Pandiman immediately coordinated and sought assistance with the government authorities amid the ECQ being implemented not only in Metro Manila but in the entire country. During the ECQ, the Bureau of Immigration of the Philippines issued a Memorandum Circular No. JHM-2020-002 which temporarily restrict the entry of foreign nationals to the country in lieu of the lockdown amid Covid 19 pandemic and the other provinces implementing their own lockdown and entry restrictions. On this note, Russian Captain's medical evacuation to the Philippines seems hopeless.
Despite the challenges, Pandiman did not give up on the Captain because we believe that all life is precious. Pandiman exhausted all options and made all effort to ensure the successful medical evacuation of the Russian Captain.
On April 7, 2020, the captain was successfully medically evacuated from the vessel, landed to Manila port and was immediately transported to Cardinal Santos Hospital via ambulance. He was admitted in the hospital and classified as PUI (Person Under Investigation). He was then placed in an area with a strict barrier nursing for preventative measure and had undergone various medical tests including swab test for COVID 19. This all happened with the help of the Office of the Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, the Russian Embassy, and with the coordination of the concerned government authorities and port agents.
Pandiman closely coordinated with the doctors of Marine Medical Services/Cardinal Santos Hospital in monitoring the Captain's medical condition, at the same time keeping the Shipowners and the Russian Embassy updated on any developments. After a few days of medical treatment, the swab test result was released, and it was with great pleasure to know that Captain was negative for COVID 19. Aside from the great news of being negative for COVID 19, he was now recovering from his diagnosed illness not relating to the corona virus.
On April 18, 2020, the Russian Captain was finally discharged from the hospital and Pandiman had arranged for his hotel accommodation, while his flight to his home country is being arranged.
This proves that even in this challenging situation, we can always find help whenever needed and Pandiman is committed in performing its role continuously as a local P&I correspondent.
Prepared by: Abigael R. Gallano
Manager, Crew Claims Division