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54 more seafarers arrive home from Ukraine, repatriates now at 286

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MORE FILIPINO seafarers affected by the war in Ukraine have arrived home, bringing the total number of repatriates to 286, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported on Tuesday. 

The most recent group that arrived included 54 sea-based workers from four different vessels: MV Bolten Ithaki (14), MV Ithaca Prospect (7), MV Polar Star (12), and MV Riva Wind (21). 

The DFA, in coordination with the Philippine Embassy in Budapest, has been monitoring 23 ships manned by Filipinos.  

Two of the vessels, the Yasa Jupiter and MV Namura Queen, were hit by shelling in the Black Sea, leaving one Filipino injured. 

Another 24 Filipinos were expected to arrive Tuesday, the department added.  

Evacuation and repatriation efforts are also underway for another 97 seafarers who are still in Ukraine. 

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr., meanwhile, said on Monday that the Philippines is ready to welcome refugees.  

He wrote on Twitter that “everyone who seeks refugee status will approach our Embassies whose job it is to receive them and start the process to get them accepted by DoJ (the Department of Justice).” 

“This is what we are known for: taking in the wretched of the Earth,” he added. 

More than 2.5 million Ukrainians have left their country following Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24, according to the latest United Nations refugee estimate. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan