With shipowners taking additional efforts to safely evacuate seafarers who are trapped in the Black Sea, 22 crew members from the Philippines on MTM Rio Grande were evacuated with the help of private armed personnel.
amely, on 12 March, the seafarers reached the Ninoy Aquino International and were welcomed by Librodo and Cristina Garcia, the Group President of the Association of Licensed Manning Agencies (ALMA).
The MTM Rio Grande had arrived at Evpatoria port on 24 February, however, the port stopped operating on the same day after Russia invaded Ukraine.
Remembering their experiences, a crewmember recalled how the principal and manning office had ordered them to pull out, however, the pilot had abandoned the vessel since it could not sail any longer. As a result, the crew remained stranded for two weeks.
The crew member said fear and panic struck them, especially when they saw a missile hit a ship nearby, killing a third engineer from Bangladesh.
Weeks later, with armed security escorts to their rescue, the Filipino crew could disembark and make a safe landing in Palanca, a port that lies between the borders of Moldova and Romania. Then they moved to Hungary, where the crewing firm had arranged a rescue flight for them.