Philippines repatriates over 13,000 distressed seafarers
A group of 668 seafarers landed today at an airport in Manilla, the Philippines, breaking the 13,000 figure of repatriated seafarers who were displaced by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The latest wave is the second of three groups planned to arrive today in the country’s capital as part of a massive governmental campaign to return the affected seafarers home.
The Philippines is considered to be one of the world’s biggest suppliers of seafarers on international ships and the pandemic has left thousands of its sailors stuck on merchant and cruise ships unable to return homes amid globally imposed travel restrictions.
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Sarah Lou Y. Arriola said earlier that the government would try to reach everyone and leave no-one behind.
The Philippine Embassy in Washington DC coordinated the repatriation of the seafarers who were stranded in Miami, USA and in Barbados, in close cooperation with the repatriates’ local manning agency, CF Sharp, and cruise line companies, Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) and Spirit and Oceania Cruises.