DEME, a Belgian world leader in the highly specialised fields of dredging, offshore energy market, environmental and infra marine works, announces the successful repatriation of 75 Philippine crew members to Manila. The crew members have all spent some of the longest time stranded abroad because of the COVID-19 lockdowns and travel restrictions in the various countries they were active in.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic meant that DEME crews have been unable to undergo their regular crew change since March, because of the various travel restrictions imposed around the world. The affected Philippine crew members were working on 12 different DEME vessels that were operating in 5 countries. A combination of restrictions in the countries they were working in and the lockdown of Philippine airspace made bringing them home safely not a small feat.
Nonetheless, and following several weeks of intensive activity and interaction around the world, DEME was able to arrange, with the assistance of The Aviation Factory, a dedicated charter flight from Brussels South Charleroi Airport in Belgium to Manila – and to fly everyone home to their families. The crew members were waved off by officials from the Philippine embassy and consulate in Belgium.
Air Belgium’s Airbus A340-300 registered OO-ABD took off from Brussels South Charleroi on 22 July at 18:30 on flight KF6301 and arrived in Manila the next day at 13:10 after a nonstop flight of 12 hours and 40 minutes. The return trip KF6302 took off from Manila on 24 July at 09:36 to land at Charleroi at 16:34 after close to 13 hours in the air.
This was, in all, the seventh plane to be chartered by DEME for repatriation purposes and the first flying to Manila to get crew members home safely.
4 August 2020
Sources: PortNews and FlightRadar24