THE Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) on Monday urged Filipino sailors to refrain from getting off their ships during port calls to three West African countries hit by the Ebola virus disease epidemic. TUCP President Ernesto Herrera said “sailors should quarantine themselves and avoid shore leave when their ships stop for supplies, repairs, or transshipment of cargo in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone”. The former senator also said unauthorized person should be strictly prohibited from boarding ships during port calls to these Ebola-stricken countries. Herrera made the statement shortly after a Filipino sailor in Togo previously suspected of having Ebola tested negative for the deadly virus. He was diagnosed instead with the flu. The Philippines has been the world’s chief supplier of sailors since 1987. Some 375,000 Filipinos comprise one-fourth of the estimated 1.5 million merchant mariners worldwide.