Ordeal of stranded Filipino seafarers ends as they finally return to PH

Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 29 2020 05:57 AM

MANILA - A group of 19 Filipino seafarers and overseas workers who had been unable to return to the Philippines from China during the pandemic are already back home. 

They had arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila early Tuesday morning via a chartered flight of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) from Xiamen. 

The repatriates were all wearing full-body personal protective suits provided by the Philippine government, as seen in pictures by DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers' Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola. 

DFA staff welcomed and briefed them at the airport before taking them to a quarantine facility for their mandatory isolation. 

The arrival marks the end of a months-long ordeal for 16 seafarers whose ships were stranded at sea after being kept by China from disembarking and who couldn't go home due to the lack of commercial flights. 

Eleven of them are the Filipino crew members of the Ocean Star 86 fishing vessel which had been stranded at Dongshan, Fujian province since March. 

The 5 other seafarers were stranded at the M/V Maria P. In Ningde since July. 

Three of the 19, meanwhile, are land-based OFWs from China. 

The department previously assured the seafarers they would be provided with welfare assistance and receive their remaining salaries and other entitlements.