You are here

POEA bans employers of Filipino seafarers stranded in China ; POEA says stranded seafarers near China coast will still get salaries

POEA bans employers of Filipino seafarers stranded in China
Bianca Angelica D. Añago October 6, 2021

THE PHILIPPINE Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has blacklisted the employers of 29 Filipino seafarers stranded in Xiamen, China, who were abandoned after their respective vessels ceased operations in May.

In a news briefing on Wednesday, POEA Administrator Bernard P. Olalia said in Filipino that “these employers know their responsibility to bring home our seafarers but they abandoned them, hence they are blacklisted in POEA and cannot anymore hire seafarers and fishermen.”

The manning agencies who hired the seafarers were also suspended by the POEA, Mr. Olalia said.

On Sept. 17, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported that 29 seafarers aboard three Chinese-flagged fishing vessels have been stranded along the coast of Xiamen, China.

The DFA sent them assistance packages containing food, clothing, and hygiene kits while waiting to be repatriated.

Sixteen of the seafarers were brought back to the Philippines on Sept. 29, and Mr. Olalia assured that the POEA is working with the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in China and the Chinese government to bring home the remaining 13 as soon as possible.

Mr. Olalia said the employers and manning agencies are mandated to give the seafarers’ wages until they are brought back to the Philippines despite the end of their contracts.

If they fail to comply, the POEA will use the agencies’ deposited escrow fund to pay the seafarers.

POEA says stranded seafarers near China coast will still get salaries
Jasmin Romero and Bianca Dava, ABS-CBN News at Oct 07 2021

MANILA - The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) on Wednesday said stranded Filipino seafarers near a China coast will get their salaries despite their predicament.

A total of 29 seafarers aboard three Han Rong fishing vessels were abandoned 5 months ago by their employer Global Maritime and Offshore Resources Inc., and its Chinese principal, Jenn Yih Song Seafood LTD.

The group Seanetwork earlier said the seafarers were left without food, clean water and medicine. Their salaries and allotments were also allegedly unpaid for 7 to 8 months.

Their families have called for the immediate rescue and repatriation of the crew.

“Ang magbabayad po niyan, ang employer,” POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia said in a Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) virtual presser.

(Their employer would pay their salaries.)

But if the employer still fails to pay, the manning agencies would shoulder the claims through their escrow deposit to the POEA, Olalia said.

“Lahat ng manning agency…kahit suspendido na, kanselado na, meron pong escrow deposit sa POEA. Di po nila pwedeng i-withdraw yun. Yung escrow deposit will later on answer for all the monetary claims that the seafarers are entitled during this repatriation,” he said.

(All the manning agency, even if they're suspended or cancelled, have escrow deposits in POEA. They cannot withdraw it.)

The seafarers reportedly felt helpless and their situation has taken a toll on their well-being.

The former employer, Global Maritime and Offshore Resources Inc, is allegedly ignoring its responsibilities to the Filipino workers, making their repatriation difficult to pursue.

“Nahihirapan po tayo dahil ang mga employer na ito, pasaway. Alam ng mga employer na ito na ang kanilang responsibility ay pauwiin ang kanilang employee,” Olalia said.

(We are having difficulties because these employers keep on breaking rules. They know that it's their responsibility to bring their employees home)

POEA has since blacklisted the employer.

“Di na sila pwedeng mag-hire ng mga seafarer, ng mga fishers dahil napakatitigas ng ulo.Yyung mga ahensya naman na nag-deploy sa mga seafarer... sinuspend na rin natin.”

(They cannot hire seafarers from us because they are hard-headed. These agencies that deployed the seafarers are also suspended.)


Nante Manlangit, who is on board Han Rong 366, appealed for help to the media on Tuesday.

“Nagkakasakit na kami rito. Ang tubig namin, nagsisimula nanamang... Ayaw naming dito pa kami madisgrasya,” Manlangit, who told reporters in a virtual press conference.

(We are getting sick here. Our water is... we do not want to have accidents here.)

“Kami ay natatakot baka mahawa kami rito. Ang hangin paikot-ikot dito nang malakas. Paiba-iba pa ng panahon.”

(We are scared to contract diseases here. The wind blows hard and the weather changes from time to time.)

“Gusto lang namin makauwi, nahihirapan na kami dito. Hindi na namin kaya pag tumagal kami dito. Mga Chinese dito akyat-baba, baka mahawaan kami dito,” said Racsam Baguna, who is on the same vessel.

(We just want to go home because it is difficult here. We cannot stand it here anymore. The Chinese here keeps on visiting us so the risk of getting the disease is high.)

Terry Madla, who is also stranded on board Han Rong 362, said they are having difficulties coping with their situation.

“Hirap na hirap na kami dito, sir. Sana matulungan niyo po kami, sir. Di na namin alam ano ang gagawin namin. Araw-araw gabi-gabi kami nag-iiyak dito para makauwi, sir. Depressed na depressed na po kami dito. Isa lang hinihingi namin—ang makauwi kami nang maayos," Madla said.

(It is very difficult here, so we hope you can help us. We do not know what to do. Everyday we cry just to go home. We are already depressed. We just want to go home safe)

Their plight was brought to the attention of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in August this year.

Last Sept. 16, the families of the stranded seafarers along with the Seanetwork, Migrante International, Concerned Seafarers of the Philippines and other groups trooped to the DFA to demand the immediate rescue and repatriation of the crew members.

Seanetwork's Atty. Ed dela Cruz said the DFA committed to provide food, clean water and medicine, and to facilitate the repatriation of the distressed seafarers before the end of the month.