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Updated 2010 March 1
Philippine Consul General Angelo S. Macatangay
Philippine Honorary Consul General Angelo S. Macatangay on a conference call with Philippine officials and Palm Beach Princess representatives. (Photo: Filam News Digest)

44 broke, stranded Filipino Seafarers

Humanitarian Crisis Averted

(Page 3 of 5)


Over the weekend Mrs. Macatangay pleaded with US authorities for humanitarian reasons to waive and make exception on the new transit procedures. Foreign nationals entering the US must have a valid visa since the Transit Without Visa Program had been previously suspended. Without the waiver they could have been detained for up to 3 months (that is about the time when flights are available to their destination via Europe) and costs in transporting them back home would have more than doubled.

By now only 44 crew members were left aboard the ship, mostly they were those that just started their contracts.

US Immigration authorities who had previously worked with the Philippine Consulate on many occasions, responded favorably on this issue. This was the key to getting the Filipino seamen home expeditiously.

"US authorities studied the situation and our appeal for humanitarian reasons," said ConGen Macatangay.
"We are most thankful and appreciative to the US government for its very kind
and positive consideration."

On Monday, Feb. 22nd, ConGen Macatangay spoke with Don Duero and learned that airline tickets have been purchased by the Philippine government.

ConGen Macatangay coordinated with Palm Beach Port Director Randal Brungot of the US Customs and Border Patrol (US CBP) in transporting the Filipino seafarers to their destination. It was also agreed that ConGen Macatangay will accompany the seamen from the Port Palm Beach
to Los Angeles airport.

"Director Brungot arranged for the transit the 44 Filipino seamen from the ship to the plane that would take them home," said ConGen Macatangay.

"Director Brungot also helped us coordinate with US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officials at the Los Angeles airport. We are truly grateful for Director Brungot's assistance. I accompanied the 44 Filipinos to assure their safety and to assist in any issues that arising from their transit."

On Tuesday, 3:00 a.m. ConGen Macatangay and Mrs. Macatangay retrieved the 44 Filipino seamen off the Palm Beach Princess and boarded them in 2 buses. Three other vehicles
escorted the passengers to Miami International airport.
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