PH gov’t repatriates 111 seafarers stranded at sea

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DAVAO CITY — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has repatriated 111 stranded Filipino seafarers and the remains of two seafarers from Fujian, China aboard the carrier vessel Star Mariner, which docked at the Manila Port on Thursday.

In a news release on Friday, the DFA underscored the significance of the repatriation as the department celebrated its 122nd founding day and the birthday of Apolinario Mabini, the country’s first secretary of foreign affairs.

The stranded Filipinos came from nine different Chinese fishing vessels that were forced to anchor in the high seas for the past several months because they were not allowed to dock in any port, including China, due to travel restrictions imposed by countries around the world to control the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

The Star Mariner left Fujian, China on July 11 with 101 stranded Filipinos to fetch 10 stranded seafarers and two remains onboard another stranded ship in the Indian Ocean before proceeding to Manila.

They left the waters off Singapore on July 18.

The repatriates underwent reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing, as prescribed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

They will be temporarily housed at the Bureau of Quarantine-approved facilities for mandatory quarantine while they await the results of their RT-PCR test.

The DFA, through the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs and the Philippine Consulate General in Xiamen, worked closely with concerned agencies, such as the Philippine Ports Authority, Department of Health – Bureau of Quarantine, Philippine Coast Guard, and Maritime Industry Authority, as well as with the Chinese employers and concerned licensed manning agencies for the seafarers’ repatriation and arrival, in compliance with the Philippine and Chinese governments’ health emergency protocols.

The DFA also coordinated with the seafarers’ families. (PR)

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