Over 300 Filipino crew members of Sea Chefs and TUI Cruises departed for the Philippines from Hamburg, Germany in the early evening of 24 May 2020 via a chartered TUI Airlines flight.
The seafarers had been awaiting repatriation for the last two months after their usual cruise liner routes, mainly in the Caribbean region, were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Filipino crew, part of several thousand Sea Chefs and TUI Cruises employees of different nationalities, were assisted at the send-off by TUI Staff, Philippine Ambassador to Germany Theresa Dizon-De Vega, Labor Attaché Delmer Cruz, and consular staff Elvin Jay Alejandro and Arneil Sergio.
Before boarding, Ambassador Dizon-De Vega expressed appreciation to the Filipino crew for their patience and understanding stating, “it has been a very difficult period for all of you and we look forward to the time when you can all come back to work in the cruise industry”. She likewise thanked the companies for their coordination.
For his part, Labor Attaché Cruz reminded the Filipinos that they could apply for the government’s social amelioration program of AKAP at the different OWWA Regional Offices.
The Filipino crew members arrived in the Philippines on 25 May 2020.