Abu Dhabi: As many as 116 Indonesians were repatriated o their home country from the UAE on Wednesday, Gulf News has learnt.
The repatriated include those who had lost their jobs, those sent on unpaid leave, or whose visas had been cancelled during the current COVID-19 crisis.
Among those repatriated were also 10 stranded crewmembers of a ship. All passengers and crew tested negative for COVID-19.
Speaking to Gulf News, Yunita Sosbud, Vice-Consul of Social Welfare and Information at the Indonesian Consulate in Dubai, said, “A total of 116 passengers, including 10 crewmembers of a stranded ship, were repatriated today morning to Indonesia from Dubai. Among them, 106 lost their jobs and wanted to return home as they were unable to bear the cost of living.”
The Indonesian workers served in different fields but due to current coronavirus pandemic were asked by their employers to avail unpaid leave or were sacked, she said.
Some Indonesians decided to resign to go back home as the cost of living was unmanageable for them, Sosbud said.
“Emirates airlines operated the first non-regular commercial flight to Jakarta with flight EK356 ETD 8.45am. Based on the airline’s information, the aircraft carried 116 passengers (all Indonesian citizens), including the 10 Indonesian crew ship member of Falcon Warrior (FW) ship,” she said.
In most cases, the repatriation was done with financing from Bayu Maritime International Company, while in some cases, people bore the expense themselves, the mission said.
“The crew ship has been in UAE waters for 11 months and the crew was allowed to disembark at 3pm at Rashid Port, Dubai, on April 14. Following a COVID-19 rapid test conducted by the Dubai Health Authority, they were all declared negative.
Furthermore, they were lodged overnight at a hotel before being taken to the airport at 5.30am on Wednesday.
“The repatriation process went well and smooth with the close coordination between the Indonesian Consulate General in Dubai, the Indonesian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, Bayu Maritime International, IMS Shipping and the full support of relevant government agencies,”Sosbud said.