COVID-19 sends over 13,000 seafarers back home
MANILA – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the arrival of additional 668 seafarers at midday today has summed up over 13,000 repatriates displaced by COVID-19 pandemic.
About three weeks ago, Magsaysay Shipping Chairman Marlon Roño said about 10,000 seafarers employed in cruise ships, in hotel, hospitality and technical sections will be sent home due to THE COVID-19 pandemic.
The DFA in a statement released today said the group composed the second of three batches of repatriates scheduled to arrive today at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City.
The DFA personnel was augmented by staff from the Bureau of Quarantine, Bureau of Immigration, Philippine National Police and their local manning agency, Magsaysay met 388 seafarers from Costa Fascinosa at the tarmac where they were fetched and directly transported to their quarantine facility after undergoing quarantine protocols.
In another development, 440 seafarers from Norwegian Gateway were assisted by their manning agency, CF Sharp, which provided their transportation as the repatriates will subject themselves to home-based quarantine.
The Philippine Embassies in Brasilia and Washington D.C. helped in the repatriation. The two groups took chartered flights paid by their cruise companies, Costa Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Lines.
The two groups composed of 252 seafarers arrived late Monday afternoon.
According to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, out of the US$30,13 billion remittances last year, seafarers contributed US$6.5 billion or 21,70% of the total transfers. (Melo M. Acuña)
File photo of seafarers up for interview at several manning agencies in Ermita, Manila. (Melo M. Acuna photo)