230 seafarers from Germany arrives Friday on chartered flight
TWO HUNDRED THIRTY Filipino seafarers arrived today, June 12 from Hamburg, Germany, organized by the Peter Döhle group for its seafarers represented in the Philippine manning agency Döle Seafront Crewing (Manila) Inc. via a chartered flight onboard Condor Air.
The flight also includes other seafarers from different companies as the Dö
hle Group opened the chartered flight to other companies as well.
According to lawyer Iris Baguilat, president of Döhle Seafront, they made the initiative to be able to bring back their crew deployed months ago, and to help those seafarers who are having a hard time to go back to the country due to the travel restrictions imposed by the Philippine government and overseas.
After its arrival, Baguilat said the chartered flight would also be leaving June 13, 2020 bound back to Hamburg to replenish their crew who are due for crew change. As such, the outbound flight marks the first ever chartered flight out of the country with crew to join their different vessels.
According to Baguilat, this outbound flight will definitely assure those employers of the country’s more than 600,000 seafarers that “crew change” problems from before is being looked into by the government. This will assure them that crew movement is ongoing.
“We are calling the government to be lenient for the departure of those overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), especially Filipino seafarers, to be able us to supply and change those finishing contracts. This will make the seafaring afloat, especially this trying times, as the shipping industry is one of those industries being badly hit by the Covid 19 pandemic,” Baguilat said.
She added, “One of the toughest challenges in the maritime industry during this COVID-19 pandemic is facilitating crew changes because of travel restrictions and safety protocols imposed by each country. We have thousands of Filipino seafarers who remain onboard beyond end of their contracts because their replacements cannot embark ships”.
She reiterated that seafarers onboard are now facing safety issues because they suffer from fatigue, mental health issues, and have run out of maintenance medication. “Over the past months, it is very challenging to deploy Filipino seafarers because of the 400 passengers limit in Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). Our foreign principal, Peter Döhle Schiffahrts- KG who mostly employs Filipino seafarers in their vessels truly understand this restriction but needs to take action as well for the welfare of our seafarers, that’s why this flight was chartered and arranged to repatriate seafarers to Manila and bring joining seafarers to northern Europe,” Baguilat stressed.
The said company was one of first manning agencies to charter a flight to cater the repatriation of some seafarers outside their company. Döhle was also the first to deply deploy approx. 100 seafarers using charter flight. Baguilat said the chartered flight was well coordinated to Department of Foreign Affairs- Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (DFA-OUMWA), Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), DOH- Bureau of Quarantine, Department of National Defense, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Bureau of Immigration (BI) and they have wired documentary requirements required.
Earlier, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the heads of the maritime, labor and aviation organizations of the United Nations have issued a plea for urgent action on crew changes and for “keyworker” designation so that sea and air workers can be relieved and repatriated in a safe way during the COVID-19 pandemic.