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AMOSUP ramps up aid  to seafarers despite COVID-19 surge

The Union has distributed over 40,000 food packs to mariners across the country as of March 2021.

Since the early months of the lockdown imposed by the government in 2020 due to the pandemic, AMOSUP has been distributing food packs to seafarers stranded in dormitories around Manila. Hundreds of requests for relief came pouring in and were duly accommodated by the union workers at Sailor’s Home Manila, even with limited manpower.

In July, AMOSUP Manila, as well as the union’s branches in Cebu, Iloilo and Davao ramped up relief distribution efforts to reach more seafarers affected by the economic impact of the pandemic.

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge in Metro Manila and nearby provinces one year into the pandemic, AMOSUP continues to serve its members, says Merriame Alea who’s in charge of the Sailor’s Home and Team Lead of AMOSUP’s relief distribution in National Capital Region.

“It’s really challenging. But we continue to provide relief packs to our members to support the objective of AMOSUP to help our members who are in need. I just make sure to keep a strong and healthy body. I try to be courageous and keep a strong mental state,” she said.

Ms. Alea admits they still encounter hurdles that limit their movement, as authorities in different cities and towns impose different restrictions. But in spite of this, she says the union is driven to reach as many members as possible.

“Thankfully, the AMOSUP management has always been supportive and helpful to us, staff and to our members,” Ms. Alea added.

As of March 2021, the Union has distributed over 40,000 food packs to seafarers across the country.

Safe Corridor Initiative deployed thousands
 Meanwhile, IMEC and ITF’s “safe corridor” testing and quarantine initiative in cooperation with AMOSUP has successfully deployed thousands of Filipino seafarers since its launch in October 2020.

According to Atty. Henry Zamora, AMOSUP’s Team Lead for the Safe Corridor, in March alone, they took in more than 500 joiners for quarantine at the St. Giles hotel in Makati.

The initiative allows IMEC members, through their LMA counterparts in Manila, arrange for seafarers to be checked in at St. Giles Hotel in Makati, the Marriot Hotel in Pasay through the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association/Norwegian Training Centre-Manila, and at the Bayleaf Hotel in Manila through NYK.

Seamen’s Hospital Manila conducts swab testing upon seafarers’ arrival, while AMOSUP staff and a third-party security personnel monitor them during their quarantine. The seafarers are tested again after their quarantine period before they are transported for embarkation.

Despite the challenges of the continuous surge of COVID-19 cases and the new strains that have reportedly spread in Metro Manila, Atty. Zamora says their processes in place remain strict and intact to ensure the continuous deployment of Filipino seafarers who have undergone safe and strictly monitored quarantine, as well as reliable and legitimate swab tests.

To date, over 4,000 Filipino seafarers have been deployed through the Safe Corridor Initiative. SF