Philippine-U.S. officials work together to facilitate repatriation of Grand Princess’ Filipino crew members

OAKLAND, CA — Grand Princess, the cruise ship that carried 19 crew members and two passengers who tested positive for COVID-19, has been anchored at the port of Oakland since Monday.

The final passengers disembarked last Thursday night and have been sent to military bases across the U.S. for a federally mandated 14-day period of quarantine.

Consul General Henry Bensurto Jr., the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco, said that after much planning between U.S. and Philippine officials, over 500 crew members, who are Philippine nationals, will be repatriated.

“I’m very upbeat that we’re moving forward. And that by Saturday, hopefully, we should be able to conduct the repatriation for the Filipino crew members.”

Bensurto said accommodations have been made to ensure the crew members’ safe return to the Philippines.

“There will be two aircrafts essentially that will be made available for this purpose. They are both Boeing-747 and that thing without the capacity of more than 400 people.”

Procedures are also being put into place to make sure the Filipino crew members are screened upon their return to the Philippines.

“Obviously, they will be subject to the normal health and safety protocols that the US has put in place and when they reach the Philippines we will also have our own safety protocol to make sure that we’re able to to protect the people themselves and the possibility of them if they have from affecting others.”

Bensurto confirmed that some of the Filipino crew members have tested positive for COVID-19; however, they did not leave the ship.

“Based on the current safety practice of the state of California in the US, they’re there in the boat. They stayed in the boat, but isolated. That is our understanding. But we are continuously engaged with them to see whether in the context of US regulations and safety protocols, if they can take a second look, in terms of how these infected people could be quarantined in a different manner.”

Congen Bensurto said this whole process was a joint effort by the Philippine government and the U.S. state department.

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  • Mario
    15 March 2020 at 4:12 am - Reply

    DUTERTE, 400 Filipino cruise ship crew tested NEGATIVE will be brought home to the PH by 2 Boeing 747 plane paid by me,US TAXPAYERS money.