MANILA – The 13 Filipino seafarers who had been stranded in China since last year have returned to the Philippines, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday.
The seafarers had been on board their ship M/V Angelic Power at Guishan Port in Zhuhai, Guangdong, for at least a year and had been unable to disembark due to China’s control procedures, which prohibit foreign seafarers from departing unless it is an emergency scenario.
“The Filipino seafarers became stranded due to a maritime court case, a commercial dispute over a contract of carriage of goods at sea, involving the shipowner. The Guangzhou Maritime Court ordered the arrest/seizure of MV Angelic Power on April 14, 2021,” the DFA said.
Some of the seafarers indicated their intent to remain on the ship until the matter was resolved, and the ship was sold so that the others could return home.
The DFA had expressed willingness to mount a special flight as a contingency in the event that their employer or manning agency would not be able to quickly cover their repatriation expenditures through the Philippine Consulate General in Guangzhou.
“The Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs and the Philippine Consulate General in Guangzhou have been in close coordination with the shipping agent and the licensed manning agency, Magsaysay Maritime Corporation, on the concerns and welfare of the seafarers, including the payment of their salary. We are delighted that finally, after long months, they are all going home,” Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola said.
On Thursday morning, the seafarers arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport via China Southern Airlines from Guangzhou.