Video: Stranded Filipino Seafarers Near China Call For Help Fearing Abandonment
Seafarers onboard the Oceanstar 86, unable to contact their manning agency and surviving on relief goods sent by the Embassy have called for rescue via a video secured by Rappler.
The video sent by Anthony Medina, who is a crew member shows the spate of the 11 seafarers on-board who are seen sleeping underneath tables and living in crowded conditions with boxes and belongings.
The ship is believed to be left stranded close to China, owing to border restrictions enforced to contain the exposure to COVID-19.
The seafarers say that that they have overstayed their contracts by 8 months on-board, now. Concerned about their budgeted food and situation, the seafarer seems to be appealing for help to be able to get home to their families.
The outbreak of coronavirus and the resulting lockdown in nations has caused significant suffering for seafarers all over the world getting stranded on ships, with no way to go home. A lot of them await repatriation while others are looking to join work again. A TUCP estimate indicates a number of 180,000 Filipinos yet to return home.
Abandonment of seafarers is one one the drastic consequence of the restrictions and lockdowns affecting the maritime industry. The hit on the economy has shipping companies come close to bankruptcy.
This, added with the costs to retrieve ships, pay the seafarers and aid repatriation has resulted to a lot of them leaving their ships and crew behind to fend for themselves.
The VP of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, Luis Manuel Corral is hoping for the involvement of the Department of Foreign affairs to work firmly towards repatriation.