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. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago