8 more Pinoy seafarers stranded in China return home

Published December 6, 2021, 2:21 PM

by Betheena Unite

Eight more Filipino seafarers stranded for seven months in China were finally sent back home.

(Photo courtesy of DFA Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola)

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the seafarers arrived in the Philippines on Sunday, Dec. 5, three days after the arrival of six of their colleagues in Manila.

They are among the 29 Filipinos stranded onboard the Chinese-flagged vessels Han Rong 362, 366, and 369, which ceased operations in May 2021. The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions at China’s ports stalled the ships in southeastern China, the DFA said.

According to DFA Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola, the eight seafarers are the third batch of repatriated Filipinos from the vessels.

“To date, DFA has facilitated the repatriation of 19 out of the 29 stranded seafarers,” Arriola said, adding that the “remaining 10 seafarers will be repatriated this coming week.”

The undersecretary said the agency has been organizing chartered flights in Shanghai to bring the seafarers back home especially with the “clamor from Filipinos across China” amid the approaching holidays.

The Office of the Migrant Workers Affairs (OUMWA), headed by Arriola, has monitored the case since receiving a report on the seafarers’ plight. Since then, they had extended assistance to the crew while the Philippine Consulates General in Shanghai, Xiamen, and Guangzhou attended to the needs of the seafarers and made representations with the ships’ principal and Chinese authorities for their disembarkation.