As COVID-19 grounds cruise ships, some 10,000 Filipino seafarers need to be repatriated


Posted at Mar 24 2020 09:00 AM | Updated as of Mar 24 2020 09:15 AM

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MANILA – Some 10,000 Filipino seafarers are in need of repatriation after COVID-19 halted the operation of cruise ships worldwide, a crew service agency said Tuesday.

Magsaysay Maritime Corp. is chartering flights for the repatriation of the seafarers, its chairman Marlon Rono said.

“Naguumpisa na po ang repatriation. Asahan po natin sa darating na mga araw ay marami po ang uuwi diyan,” he told radio DZMM.

(The repatriation has begun. We expect more Filipino seafarers to arrive in the coming days.)

“They are floating in some areas. Alam mo naman ang cruise ship may sariling doctor, may sariling ospital. They are taken cared of kung may symptoms na nangyayari.”

(They are floating in some areas. You know a cruise ship has its own doctor, own hospital. They are taken cared of if symptoms show.)

The repatriation is shouldered by principal, Roño said. The challenge, however, would be getting seafarers from Visayas and Mindanao home as travel is suspended nationwide which is why the agency is appealing for help from government, he added.

Once the situation “normalizes,” Filipino seafarers can go back to their jobs, he said.

Magsaysay is the agency of some 400 Filipino crew members of the Diamond Princess, the virus-hit cruise ship moored off Japan. All but 100 Filipino crew opted to stay onboard to help man the ship.