Remaining Filipino crewmen of virus-hit Grand Princess await repatriation
MANILA, Philippines — The remaining Filipino crew members of the Grand Princess cruise ship marooned in California, United States last month due to confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are now awaiting repatriation after finishing their quarantine period.
Philippine Consul General in San Francisco Henry Bensurto, Jr. sent off the Filipinos from San Francisco Port on Wednesday around 6 p.m. (Pacific Time) as the cruise ship sailed off to Princess Cruises’ headquarters in Los Angeles.
While the Filipinos were sailing, Bensurto said he called one of the crew members to check on their situation.
“The crew member updated the Consul General of their situation, saying that all Filipino crew members are well and in good spirits, but are hoping they will be repatriated soon to the Philippines,” the Consul General said in a Facebook post.
PH Consul General in SF Sends Off Filipino Crew Onboard Grand Princess ShipSAN FRANCISCO, 8 April 2020 – Philippine…
Bensurto is coordinating with California State agencies and Carnival Corp. and Princess Cruises management on the repatriation of the remaining Filipino crew, who finished their quarantine period on the ship on April 4.
In mid-March, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) sent home 444 Filipinos from the docked ship. Of the number, 438 were crew members while six are passengers.
Meanwhile, 78 Filipino crew members volunteered to remain on the ship citing maintenance purposes.
The Grand Princess would reposition outside Los Angeles where it will join other vessels Princess ships, “and from there, repatriation arrangements will ensue,” Besurto said, citing updates from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES).
“In the interim, all crew fleet-wide will remain onboard in the care of Princess until which time a plan of repatriation can be successfully executed,” stated the CalOES update.
To date, more than 465,000 people in the United States have been infected by the respiratory disease that originated in Hubei, China, while nearly 26,000 recovered and more than 16,000 perished.
The Philippines, meanwhile, is the second most hit Southeast Asian nation with 4,076 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 203 deaths and 124 recoveries as of Thursday.
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