DFA: 16 Filipino seafarers stranded in China to return home Tuesday
Photo shows the Department of Foreign Affairs main building along Roxas Boulevard in Pasay City.

DFA: 16 Filipino seafarers stranded in China to return home Tuesday

(Philstar.com) - September 28, 2020 - 5:56pm

MANILA, Philippines —  Filipino seafareres stranded in China are scheduled to arrive in Manila on Tuesday, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Arriola said. 

A press release by the Department of Foreign Affairs added that 11 of the 16 seafarers were onboard a Chinese fishing vessel, Ocean Star 86, and have been stranded in Dongshan for a little over six months. 

"They will be joined by five seafarers on board M/V Maria P., who have been stranded in Ningde since July 2020," the agency said. The M/V Maria P. is also a fishing vessel.

Both groups of seafarers were affected by China's "no disembarkation" policy which was a precautionary measure implemented due to the pandemic and the unavailability of commercial flights. 

"The DFA, through the Philippine Consulate General in Xiamen, China, has been monitoring the condition of the seafarers since they were stranded. The Consulate has been providing them welfare assistance and ensured that their salaries and other entitlements are provided for by their employer," the agency said. 

In an earlier press release, DFA said it had been attending to the plight of the 11 seafarers aboard Ocean Star 86 since April 22, or for about five months, after the Philippine Embassy in Beijing received an email alerting them on the issue. The group has been stranded since March 24. 

"The repatriation of the Filipino seafarers is a product of the Philippine Government's determination to bring home any distressed Filipino abroad whether on land or at sea. Rest assured that the DFA remains committed to protecting and promoting the rights and welfare of our OFWs,"  Arriola added on Monday. 

Latest figures from the agency show that it has repatriated nearly 200,000 Filipino migrant workers since the onset of the pandemic. Of these, 34.6%, or 67,484, are sea-based workers. — Bella Perez-Rubio 

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