881 seafarers repatriated amid Covid-19; more batches expected

April 01, 2020

A TOTAL of 881 Filipino seafarers from the United States were repatriated on Wednesday as the number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases continue to increase worldwide, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported.

The group consisted of 445 seafarers from the Norwegian Cruises Dawn and Encore and 436 from MV Magica and MV Favolosa.

The seafarers from Norwegian Cruise Lines were brought in via Wamos charter flight while the 436 flew in via two chartered Ethiopian Boeing-777.

The DFA said the seafarers would undergo a mandatory 14-day facility-based quarantine monitored by the Bureau of Quarantine.

"The DFA works with other government agencies and the private sector in this whole-of-government approach to facilitate the seamless repatriation of our workers," DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers' Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola said in a statement. "Walang iwanan. We bring you home. Tuloy lang po ang serbisyo ng DFA (You won't be left behind. The DFA will continue to be of service)."

The repatriation effort was coordinated with the DFA, the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, departments of health, transportation, and interior and local government, and local manning agencies.

Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Eduardo Meñez said more seafarers are expected to return to the Philippines on Wednesday and Thursday.

"We are expecting another smaller batch this afternoon, then more batches whole day tomorrow," he