DFA seeks help for stranded Filipino seafarers in Fiji

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 12) – The Department of Foreign Affairs directed on Thursday the Philippine embassy in Wellington, New Zealand to look into the plight and assist stranded Filipino seafarers in Fiji.

The DFA said the seafarers are currently assisted by the Fijian government and the International Transport Workers Federation.

A news report published by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Thursday revealed the situation of at least seven Filipino seafarers, who were abandoned by their employer Goundar Shipping after raising their working conditions to the management.

Four of the seven Filipinos were fired on Christmas Day last year after refusing to surrender their passports to Goundar Shipping. The other three Filipino sailors said the company left them stranded at a remote wharf.

The seven Filipino seafarers said they have no money and no means to return home, which caused them to be stranded in Fiji.

"We're pushing for them to get home with all expenses paid by Goundar, for their backpay to be made good to them. If not the full amount then some form of restitution has to be made to them," said Adrienne Ali, lawyer of the seven Filipino sailors.

Goundar Shipping has yet to comment on the seafarers' claims.