Chartered ship to sail to Libya to repatriate Pinoys

By Rose Eclarinal, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at Aug 09 2014 10:39 AM | Updated as of Aug 09 2014 06:39 PM

Repatriated Pinoys from Libya eating inside the office of Fr. Aldrin Alvarado of the Millenium Chapel in Paceville in Malta

VALLETTA - The Philippine Rapid Response Team (RRT) in Malta led by Consul General Leila Lora-Santos of the Philippine Embassy in Rome confirmed with ABS-CBN Europe News that the chartered ship to pick up stranded overseas Filipino workers and their families in Libya will sail from an undisclosed port in Southeastern Europe on Saturday morning to go to Benghazi, its first port of stop.

The ship which will pick up an estimated 1,000 Filipinos in various ports, is expected to arrive in Malta on August 12. Reyes said her team is not at liberty to disclose any other information due to the sensitivity of the mission.

From last week, several groups of Filipinos who are repatriated by their own companies through chartered planes and ships are arriving in Malta airport of Luqa and at the Valletta seaport.

Fr. Aldin Alvarado celebrates mass with repatriated Filipinos from Libya

Filipino priest Fr. Aldrin Alvarado of the Millennium Chapel in Paceville, Malta has been receiving repatriated Pinoys in his parish.

"Nakakatuwa kasi pagdating ng mga Filipino dito ang una nilang hinahanap yung simbahan," said Fr. Aldrin. He recalled he first celebrated mass for the repatriated Pinoys on August 1 and it has continued since.

Two days ago, some 50 Filipinos working in the company Ensign International Energy Services were flown back to Manila. But everyday, groups of Pinoys arrive in Malta.

On Friday, some 13 Filipinos have landed in Valletta. They are expected to leave the country in the next 12 hours to fly back to Manila.

Repatriated Filipinos from Libya waiting at a hotel lobby for their room assignment

Community organizer John Franco said those who join the first batch of repatriated Pinoys in Malta were looked after well by their employers. Their companies made sure they were evacuated from conflict areas in Libya when the situation worsened.

The island country of Malta has once again become an exit point for many fleeing refugees, including Filipino overseas workers.

Libya is experiencing its worst violence since 2011 civil war which toppled Muammar Gadhafi. Armed militias that overthrew Gadhafi are killing each other for control of the oil-rich country.