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Wednesday, June 17, 2020 

A Far East crewing specialist has managed to bring home more than 9,000 crew members over the past three months, with around 1,000 more due back soon.

Singapore and Manila-based CF Sharp Crew Management  is using a combination of commercial and charter flights and cruise vessels to bring crew members (both cruise crew and seafarers from cargo vessels) to the Philippines, where it then organises all the necessary quarantine measures and required virus testing for all.

With the shipping industry pooling resources and sharing information in order to bring hundreds of thousands of stranded seafarers home, ship management organisation InterManager has set up a ‘Maritime Champions Club’ to demonstrate to seafarers the efforts the industry is taking on their behalf. CF Sharp Crew Management currently tops this league, ahead of shipmanagement giant V.Ships.

Roger Storey, Marketing Director, CF Sharp, said: “We were quick to identify the importance of bringing crew home. Starting as early as March 19, we began bringing our seafarers home. Working with our cruise industry clients, our  first charter flight arrived in Manila on April 1, and was followed by 14 more over the coming weeks. At the time every hotel in Manila had shut down and no facilities had been approved for quarantine by the Philippine Government’s Bureau of Quarantine (BoQ). Thanks to the 24 hours a day work of the Sharp Travel team, we were able to get numerous hotels approved for quarantine – both facility quarantine and stringent facility quarantine. Hotel rooms weren’t easy to come by but we worked hard to find them and I am pleased to report that, at the peak, we engaged more than 20 hotels and every crew member got a hotel room – and a single room at that. We have had to pave the way for these repatriations to happen, finding solutions to all the challenges and reacting quickly to changing regulations.”

With such large volumes of crew to be repatriated, Sharp has now turned to cruise liners to bring them home. NCL cruise ship Norwegian Joy is expected to arrive at the Philippines from the US west coast with 467 Filipinos crew onboard of which 350 will ‘offsign’ being long overdue for crew relief. Also onboard are 312 Indian seafarers who are due to then fly home to Goa and Mumbai. A number of Chinese seafarers will be flown back to China or remain onboard awaiting the arrival of a further vessel, the Norwegian Escape. Upon arrival and following ship clearance, the 350 offsigning seafarers will undergo swab tests with results expected back within 2/3 days. Negative tests will enable them to depart the ship and return their homes and families.

Storey said: “This is an ongoing and mammoth undertaking but we are proud to be able to do all we can for crew members around the world at this difficult time.”

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