Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
The Indonesian missions in the UAE led by Consul General in Dubai and the Northern Emirates Ridwan Hassan helped facilitate the departure of 116 of their countrymen back to Jakarta from the Dubai International Airport Terminal 3 on Wednesday morning.
The repatriation was the second wave since the April 8 return of 334 Indonesian male and female sailors employed with the Switzerland-based MSC Cruise that decided to suspend the operations of the MSC Lirica and MSC Bellissima which had been berthed in Dubai and Abu Dhabi respectively, due to the pandemic.
The 116 took the special Emirates Airlines 356 flight. They were expected to arrive in Jakarta at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.
Ten of the 116 were seafarers on board the Panamanian flag pipelay crane vessel Falcon Warrior off Umm Al Quwain for 11 months.
“Majority of the 106 were displaced or laid off workers. In such cases, our missions coordinate with employers for the possibility that they shoulder the repatriation expenses of our countrymen,” WhatsApped Vice Consul in Dubai and the Northern Emirates Yunita Purwaningyas on Wednesday afternoon. The missions began to receive repatriation assistance requests from displaced workers since March 1. There have been no requests from visit/tourist visa holders.
Some time in March, the 10 sailors finished their contracts with their employer Bayu Maritime International PTE. LTD. (Singapore) which hired them through the International Maritime Shipping Services (UAE). Their re-entry into country got delayed due to “visa arrangements and the suspension of the issuance of all visas by the UAE” as a result of the Coronavirus 2019 global problem.
On March 31, Bayu management contacted the Indonesian Consulate General in Dubai. Consequently, a delegation from the mission and the Indonesian Embassy visited the 10.
In coordination with UAE authorities channeled through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the repatriation of the 10 were completed with their fees and other expenditures shouldered by their employer.
As many as 1,600 community members have been repatriated through seven special flights by the national carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) while two more flights are ready to take approximately 400-plus expatriates on Apr.28 to Karachi and Multan.
As the Duterte Administration is determined to repatriate all distressed overseas Filipinos (OFs) as a result of the pandemic, the Philippine missions in the UAE are prioritising their countrymen on visit/tourist visas who do not have any means at all to go back home.
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