Filipino seafarers stranded for months in China back home

By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

December 2, 2021, 2:54 pm

<p><em>(Photo courtesy of DFA)</em></p>

(Photo courtesy of DFA)

MANILA – Six Filipino seafarers are now back home after getting stranded for at least half a year in southeastern China, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Thursday.

The group was among the 29 Filipinos onboard the Chinese-flagged vessels Han Rong 362, 366, and 369, which ceased operations last May 2021.

The seafarers were left stranded as coronavirus restrictions stalled the ships in southeastern China, the DFA said.

With the department's assistance, the initial six seafarers safely arrived in Manila from Shanghai on December 2. They transited Hong Kong on Wednesday night.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola said the rest of the Han Rong fishers who are still in Shanghai would be brought home "in the following days".

Since receiving a report about the distressed fishermen’s plight, the Philippine Consulates General in Shanghai, Xiamen, and Guangzhou attended to their needs 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," Arriola said. "We will definitely bring home the rest of the Han Rong fishers still in China.”

Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Paul Raymund Cortes is currently in talks with Philippine Consul General to Shanghai Josel Ignacio on possible options to repatriate as soon as possible the remaining 23 seafarers. (PNA)