The Phillippines Navy is to convert the country’s presidential yacht BRP Ang Pangulowas into a floating quarantine facility for COVID-19 patients.
President Rodrigo Duterte has sanctioned the conversion, which will see the 77-metre (253-foot) vessel accommodate up to 28 suspected coronavirus patients and five medical professionals. The yacht’s crew will also remain stationed on board.
On Saturday (4th April) a statement was released, which noted that the navy had “devised a feasible plan of converting the presidential yacht into a floating quarantine facility dedicated for coronavirus patients.”
Once complete, the yacht will consist of three compartments for patients, while different entry points will be dedicated for medical staff and patients. The statement added that a three-metre distance will be maintained between patients at all times.
BRP Ang Pangulowas was gifted to the Phillippines as part of Japan’s post-war reparations, and was converted into a presidential yacht in the late 1950s.
Famous faces believed to have spent time on board include dancers Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev and actress Brooke Shields.
The yacht is still in service, but Duterte has previously suggested that it may be decommissioned in the future.