The 13 Filipino seafarers who had been stranded in China since last year are finally back in the Philippines, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported Thursday.
For at least a year, the seafarers had been on board their ship M/V Angelic Power at Guishan Port in Zhuhai, Guangdong, and were not able to get off due to China’s control measures that prevent foreign seafarers from disembarking unless it is an emergency situation.
“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 signified their intention to stay on the vessel until the case is resolved, and the ship was sold so the others could go home.
The DFA, through the Philippine Consulate General in Guangzhou, previously expressed readiness to mount a special flight as a contingency in the event that their employer or manning agency would not be able to readily shoulder their repatriation expenses.
“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.
The seafarers arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Thursday morning via China Southern Airlines from Guangzhou.