18 June 2020, Berlin – Another batch of 304 Filipino crewmembers of AIDA Cruises departed for the Philippines from Hamburg, Germany on 17 June 2020 via a chartered TUI flight. They are expected to arrive in the Philippines on 18 June 2020. The seafarers had been awaiting repatriation after cruise trips were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic starting in March.
The Filipino crew, part of several thousand Sea Chefs and Tui Cruises employees of different nationalities, were assisted at the send-off by Philippine Ambassador to Germany Theresa Dizon-De Vega, Labor Attaché Delmer Cruz, and Philippine Embassy staff members Arneil Sergio and Elvin Jay Alejandro.
Ambassador Dizon-De Vega gave a brief message to the Filipino crewmembers on the procedure upon arrival in the Philippines and expressed the hope that they would be able to secure employment again in the near future. Labor Attaché Cruz likewise reminded the seafarers to avail of the government’s different programs for displaced overseas workers.
The crew members expressed their hope that cruise operations would gradually be resumed by German maritime companies. To date over 2,800 Filipino crewmembers have been repatriated from Germany.
Before boarding, The Filipino crew were provided with information on how to avail of the AKAP or Social Amelioration Fund and also the Balik Pinas, Balik Hanapbuhay Livelihood Assistance Program of OWWA. END