Six Filipinos stranded at sea for months arrive home

(Eagle News) — Six Filipino seafarers who had been stranded for months off southeastern China waters are back in the Philippines.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, the seafarers were among the 29 Filipinos stranded onboard the Chinese-flagged vessels Han Rong 362, 366, and 369, which ceased operations in May 2021.

The COVID-19 restrictions at China’s ports had stalled the ships in southeastern China.

According to the department, it was coordinating with the consulate there on options to repatriate the remaining 23 seafarers.

Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Y. Arriola said that the DFA was organizing a chartered flight in Shanghai this December.

The department said the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (OUMWA)  has so far extended assistance to the crew.

It said the Philippine Consulates General in Shanghai, Xiamen, and Guangzhou also attended to the needs of the seafarers and made representations with the ships’ principal and Chinese authorities for their disembarkation.

“The DFA has been working on their repatriation since their case came to light. Notwithstanding the challenges along the way, we finally brought home the six of them. We will definitely bring home the rest of the Han Rong fishers still in China,” she said.