MANILA, Philippines – More than 300 Filipino seafarers repatriated from cruise ships docked in Germany have arrived in the Philippines, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the DFA said the group was among the crewmembers of Sea Chefs and TUI cruises who had to wait for two months to be repatriated after their usual cruise liner routes, mainly in the Caribbean region, were suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The repatriated Filipinos landed in Manila on May 25 after they departed from Hamburg via a chartered TUI Airlines flight, the department said.
The repatriates were assisted at the send-off by TUI staff, Philippine Ambassador to Germany Ma. Theresa Dizon-De Vega, and Labor Attaché Delmer Cruz, it added.
Before boarding, Ambassador Dizon-De Vega expressed appreciation to the Filipino crew for their patience and understanding, as well as the companies for their coordination.
“It has been a very difficult period for all of you and we look forward to the time when you can all come back to work in the cruise industry,” Dizon-De Vega said.
Libya’s internationally recognized government on Tuesday (February 18) suspended talks hosted by the United Nations to halt warfare over the capital after eastern forces shelled Tripoli’s port, killing three people and almost hitting a highly explosive gas tanker.
Footage from Tripoli’s port showed black smoke rising near docked ships from the area believed to have been hit by shelling.
The U.N. has been hosting in Geneva ceasefire talks between officers from the Tripoli government and the eastern-based Libya National Army (LNA) led by commander Khalifa Haftar.
The two factions have been trying to take the capital in a near year-long campaign, displacing at least 150,000 people.
The LNA on Tuesday shelled Tripoli port, saying first it had attacked a Turkish vessel bringing weapons but saying later it had hit an arms depot. Three civilians were killed and five wounded, the Tripoli forces said.
In response to the LNA attack, the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord said in a statement it suspended its participation in ceasefire talks “until firm responses are taken against the attacker, and we will respond firmly to the attack in appropriate timing.” (Reuters)
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