Japan Coast Guard stops search ops for crew of missing cargo vessel
Robie de Guzman • September 10, 2020 • 430
MANILA, Philippines – The Japanese Coast Guard has ended its full-time search operations for the missing crew of a cargo vessel that sank off southwestern Japan, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Thursday.
In a statement, the DFA said the Japanese Coast Guard has transitioned to its usual patrol arrangements as they have found no trace of the ship since Sept. 5.
“The DFA joins the families and loved ones in continued prayers for the missing seafarers,” it said.
Reports said the 11,947-ton Gulf Livestock 1 ship was carrying 5,800 cows west of the western coast of Amami Oshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture when it made a distress call on September 2. The cause of the distress is still unknown but the weather and seas were rough in the area due to Typhoon Maysak.
The vessel was carrying 43 crew members, 39 of whom are Filipinos.
The Japanese Coast Guard earlier found the remains of a Filipino sailor, while two were rescued.
The new ruling, however, is subject to flight availability and medical protocols.
The DFA on Monday (Oct. 19) noted that Malaysia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Nepal, Tajikistan, and Hong Kong have imposed stricter medical protocols and visa regulations for those who are exempt from entry restrictions.
Mongolia’s borders remain open but inbound travelers in the country are now required to present negative COVID-19 test results and must have all applicable documents to support their visa status.
Japan, on the other hand, has gradually opened up inbound entry for students, dependents and technical interns but still prohibits entry of short-stay travelers, including tourists, the DFA said.
Also, previous information on travel restrictions for other countries and regions remain the same.
“In view of these updates, the DFA reminds the public that information contained in the infographics is subject to change without prior and sufficient public notice,” the agency said.
The DFA reminds travelers that it is always best to check ahead of travel dates with airlines, as well as with relevant Embassies or Consulates before booking a ticket and before departure.
The advisory emphasized the inclusion of eligible Filipino travelers under the “Phased Measures toward Resuming Cross-Border Travel”, a special quota on the entry into and departure from Japan, which covers technical intern trainees and specified skilled workers.
“Applicants may directly visit the embassy for own visa application while students and technical intern trainees whose sending/accepting organization is same can apply through a representative with authorization letters from every applicant,” the POEA noted.
POEA advised applicants that the Embassy may request for additional requirements, if necessary, and it may deny visa acceptance for incomplete requirements.
The Embassy reminded that accepting time for visa application starts at 8:40am to 11:00am, every Mondays to Fridays except on Embassy holidays, the POEA stressed.
“The embassy does not accept applications after the said accepting time,” it added.
Prior to visiting the Embassy, applicants are also advised to first contact its hotlines through the numbers 02-8834-7514 and 02-8834-7508 as the embassy is strictly implementing appointment schedule and social distancing measures as preventive measures against COVID-19.
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