Abu Dhabi: The Indonesian embassy repatriated 334 sailors from two ships on Wednesday who had been stranded in the UAE for almost a month due to coronavirus flight suspensions.
Barred from sailing or flying out of the counrty, the crewmembers were placed in quarantine for 14 days by the UAE’s health authorities.
Families of the crew were concerned for their wellbeing but the Indonesian embassy said all were in good condition and efforts to repatriate them had begun.
Yunita Purwaningyas, Vice Consul for Information, Social and Cultural Affairs at the Indonesian Consulate in Dubai, said, “The Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in Dubai in coordination with the Indonesian Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the local authority has facilitated the repatriation of 334 Indonesian cruise ship member of MSC Bellissima and MSC Lirica today morning.”
The families of these crewmembers were very concerned about them, so the mission facilitated them to video chat with the and assured them that they would return soon as local formalities complete, she said.
MSC Lirica sailed from Khasab (Oman) and berthed on March 11, while MSC Bellissima sailed from Sir Bani Yas (Abu Dhabi) and berthed on March 12 at Dubai Port.
The two cruise ships were unable to continue their voyage to their next destination due to the pandemic and had to stop in Dubai, she said.
“The said cruise ship members returned to Indonesia via an Air Asia chartered flight provided by their company, MSC Cruise S.A., on the Kuala Lumpur - Dubai – Kuala Lumpur – Denpasar flight route. The flight departed from Dubai International Airport on April 8 at 10.50am, would transit in Kuala Lumpur for refueling and is scheduled to arrive in Denpasar on April 9 at 00.15 UTC+8,” Sosbud said.
Only one crew member couldn’t board. The consulate is closely monitoring their progress to identify the reason and ensure their return.
“The cruise ship members had undergone rapid COVID-19 tests on April 2. All of them tested negative and were declared fit to fly. They also continue to take preventative measures such as wearing masks, maintaining health and personal hygiene and implementing social distancing,” Sosbud said.
Upon arrival in Indonesia, the passengers will undergo a series of screening and would be put under health quarantine, she said.
The mission appreciated the efforts of the local authorities in repatriating them successfully in close coordination with the company, MSC Cruise S.A. in Geneva, Switzerland, and the agency Sharaf Shipping in collaboration with Marinaio Prima Success Limited.
The mission added that two of its nationals in the UAE (separate from the crewmembers) had tested positive and were under medical supervision with the mission constantly monitoring their health.