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2 Filipino seafarers who were offloaded then left stranded in Iran repatriated

2 Filipino seafarers who were offloaded then left stranded in Iran repatriated
Roy Mabasa April 27, 2018

Two Filipino seafarers who were offloaded from their vessel and were left stranded in Iran for almost two weeks were safely repatriated back to Manila on Thursday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

In a report to the DFA, the Philippine Embassy in Tehran identified the two distressed seafarers as Jerry Gabanzo and Miguel Estrella, Jr., crewmembers of the United Arab Emirates-owned MV Blue Nile. The ship arrived at the Port of Chabahar, Iran on April 1.

Philippine Ambassador to Iran Wilfredo Santos said they learned about the plight of the two Filipinos only on April 16 when the wife of one of the seafarers sent them an urgent email narrating their situation in Chabahar, a southeastern seaport located some 1,800 kilometers from the capital city of Tehran.

Santos said they made immediate representations with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tehran, to its regional office in Chabahar, as well as with the immigration offices in both cities to obtain custody over the Filipino seafarers.

Santos said an Embassy team flew to Chabahar and brought the Filipino seamen to Tehran on April 24.

The Embassy immediately informed the seamen’s manning agencies in Manila and brought to their attention the workers’ complaint against the Dubai-based ship owners, specifically their unpaid salaries and other benefits.

It was not clear, however, why the two were offloaded from their vessels.

Santos narrated that it took only one day for Iran’s Immigration Office and relevant government offices in Tehran and Chabahar to process the exit clearances and other documentary requirements of the two stranded Filipinos workers.

After an overnight stay at the Embassy, the Philippine envoy said the two Filipino seamen departed Iran in the morning of April 26 and were accompanied in the flight by Consul General Alfredo M. Borlongan on their way back to Manila.