MANILA - The 13 Filipino crew who have been stranded in their ship in China for more than a year may return home soon after a Chinese crew replaces them, their agency said Friday.
According to the Magsaysay Maritime Corporation, Chinese authorities have arranged for Chinese seafarers to board the MV Angelic Power and once they can operate the ship, the Filipino crew can be repatriated.
"Court proceedings are also moving forward, with a video conference between the Guangzhou Maritime Court and the Filipino crew members taking place earlier this afternoon," the agency said.
"We understand that the court will take a few days to issue the necessary orders and notices for finalizing the case registration, after which the crew can be repatriated."
The agency assured the stranded Filipino seafarers, their families, concerned authorities and the media will be given updates on their repatriation status.
"Earlier this week, the President of Magsaysay Maritime Corporation had a dialogue with the crew, and their home allotments were advanced by the principal in an effort to help their families and give the crew some peace of mind in these challenging times," it said.
The crew said they were not allowed to disembark by Chinese authorities due to travel restrictions brought about by the pandemic.
The owner of MV Angelic Power also allegedly sold the vessel, triggering legal complications.
The Filipino mariners, who have been stranded for at least 17 months, had accused the Magsaysay Maritime Corporation of withholding their salaries this year.