UPDATE: The Golden Princess has left Port Melbourne at 6am, Monday 6 April. Destination: Jakarta. Filipino crew members will be returning to the Philippines.
426 Filipinos crew members are currently on the Golden Princess at Station Pier in Port Melbourne, and unable to disembark or return home to the Philippines.
Over 2000 passengers on the Grand Princess disembarked the cruise after tests for COVID-19 returned negative on 19 March. The passengers have ended their 14 day self-isolation as of 3 April, while the crew have continued to remain on the ship. There were no reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 from the cruise.
Crew Manager in contact with Philippine Consulate General in Melbourne
The Philippine Consulate General in Melbourne has been in contact with the crew manager Emmanuel Mallela via email. ConGen Mandap is making every effort to try to arrange the repatriation of the Filipino staff. “The crew, according to the ship representatives, are in good health and have ample supplies. We’re still working with all concerned to get them repatriated,” stated Mandap.
Golden Princess itinerary cut short
It’s journey to New Zealand, which began on 10 March was cut short due to the pandemic, however they were able to stop at one location, Dunedin. On 15 March at their scheduled second stop in Canterbury, New Zealand authorities did not allow the ship’s passengers to disembark after reports of passengers that presented with flu-like symptoms.
The ship returned to Melbourne and arrived on 19 March. Some passengers were tested as required by Victorian Health Authorities, then cleared before all passengers were allowed to leave the cruise.
Over 500 Filipino crew members on board Ruby Princess in Sydney
The coronavirus-plagued Ruby Princess cruise is reported to have over 500 Filipino crew members. There are over 1000 employees in total who remain on the ship while docked in Sydney Harbour.
The cruise has received scrutiny as NSW Health allowed passengers to disembark despite results pending. 622 passengers of the Ruby Princess have now tested positive for COVID-19 while in self-isolation.
A quarter of the crew are in isolation, with many crew members expected to test positive with the coronavirus. It is not yet known if any Filipinos have contracted the virus.
Fears held for 294 Filipino crew on Artania, in Fremantle Western Australia
The Artania, a German cruise liner in Fremantle is reported to have several crew members that have contracted the coronavirus. A total of 294 crew members are from the Philippines, but it is not yet clear if any have tested positive with COVID-19.
As at 3 April, over 40 passengers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and receiving treatment in Perth hospitals.
The Artania has remained in port at Fremantle, despite being asked by Australian Border Force to leave.
“We are working through with the ship’s owners and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to see if we can get any of those people (crew) off the ship and home.” stated the Australian Border Force Commissioner Michael Outram.
One passenger, a 69 year old German man has died, and most of those who are clear of the virus have since been charted back home to Germany.
Philippine Embassy’s Statement
On 3 April, the Philippine Embassy in Canberra has released an advisory on Filipino Crew Members onboard 3 Cruise Ships in Australia: https://www.philembassy.org.au/latest/advisory/advisory-on-filipino-crew-members-onboard-cruise-ships-in-australia
As stated in the advisory: “The Philippine Foreign Service Posts in Australia and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) continue to work closely with the manning agencies and state and federal authorities to ensure the health and safe repatriation of the Filipino crew of the cruise ships.”
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