P&I Club has issued a warning to ship owners that their vessels may be refused entry to Philippine ports if they don't take heed of the country's latest martial law-imposed visa restrictions on crew from certain countries.
Martial law in the Philippines, and the restrictions on the movement of certain nationalities in designated 'areas of conflict', particularly Mindanao, has been extended to December 2017 since it was imposed in May the same year – following armed conflict between the army and alleged Islamic terrorist groups.
Club correspondents Pandiman Philippines sent a Club Philippines correspondent newsletter dated 16 August 2017 to owners explaining that since Mindanao is a designated 'area of conflict', this means masters must provide a notice of arrival with a list of all Philippine ports the vessel intends to dock in, along with the relevant visa documentation for their crew.
They advise that vessels may be refused entry into the region's ports, particularly in Mindanao, if they do not comply with the visa requirements.
Martial law in the Philippines, and the restrictions on the movement of certain nationalities in designated 'areas of conflict', particularly Mindanao, has been extended to December 2017
The report added that temporary restrictions also seem to be in place for Indonesian and Turkish nationals, even though Turkey is not on the list. The report says this may reflect allegations that 'nationals from both Turkey and Indonesia were discovered fighting for terrorist groups in Mindanao'.
Other countries on the visa restriction list include Syria, Malaysia, Croatia, Albania and Bosnia-Herzegovina, as well as a raft of Middle Eastern, Chinese and African region countries.
Nautilus senior national secretary Allan Graveson said owners would be obliged to comply with these visa requirements: 'Masters will act on advice from their owners, and, when calling at a port in the Philippines – from the ships' agents.
'Nationals of countries joining vessels in the Philippines will be required to comply with these visa restrictions. The responsibility for appointment to a vessel is with the ship owner.'
Mr Graveson noted that Dutch, Swiss and UK Nationals are not included on the list. 'No doubt owners will consider such matters when crewing their vessels.'