Stranded at sea due to the COVID-19 crisis, 210 seafarers from 65 different vessels were successfully repatriated to their homes from Amsterdam (AMS) to Manila (MNL) on a chartered aircraft organized entirely by Global Marine Travel’s dedicated team of travel experts.
On July 8th, GMT organized a chartered aircraft from Qatar Airways for 15 different key customers spanning from Cruise Operators to Ship Owners, Ship Management Companies and Manning Agencies. During the process, all assurances were made that the safety, security and proper testing protocols were followed every step of the way for the crew.
“Thanks to the efforts of Global Marine Travel, we were able to send 56 crew members home to the Philippines today through a shared charter flight,” said George Howell, Windstar Cruises’ senior director of guest services. “It’s been extraordinarily complicated to repatriate crew home due to the closure of ports and travel restrictions, and it’s so important to be able to get these colleagues home.”
With seafarers being the backbone of our global shipping industry, the crisis at hand has created a safe space for the entire industry to work together. Many competitors began acting in concert to find mutually beneficial solutions that will help keep trade and supply chains open, and crew moving.
Mika Kiljunen, GMT’s Integration Director and charter project lead adds, “the global maritime industry has demonstrated a level of coordination and cooperation like none other. This bodes well for the future of our industry as we begin forecasting and planning for post-Covid crewing, significant marine travel needs, and the ongoing welfare of our most important asset – the crew.”
The fact of the matter is, the pace of crew repatriation is not going fast enough, and the backlog is rising due to the inconsistency of regular commercial flights and the ever-present changing of government restrictions. However, thanks to the collaboration and coordination of many, GMT are already in the process of organizing two additional charters set to take off before the end of July.
“With Crew changes at the top of our agenda the Doehle Group appreciate the efforts of our partners at GMT which have been instrumental in enabling us to relieve our seafarers,” says Tore Henriksen, President of Doehle Shipmanagement Philippines Corp.
The maritime industry could use further commitment from some larger commercial airline companies to make use of their dormant planes for charter use, like what Qatar Airlines have done in bringing 210 seafarers back home to their families and demonstrating their commitment to recognizing seafarers as key workers.