P&O Cruises welcomed home its much-loved Ni Vanuatu crew with the arrival of a special airlift from the Philippines on Monday.
The 126 Ni Vanuatu crew have been onboard Pacific Explorer, Pacific Dawn and Pacific Aria since March 27 when the ships left Australian waters. The three ships remain in Manila Bay, Philippines.
P&O Cruises, which is the only cruise line in the world to employ Ni Vanuatu crew, thanked the Vanuatu Government for its support in facilitating their safe return. The cruise line organised the special charter for Ni Van crew as well as Fijian crew members.
President of P&O Cruises, Sture Myrmell, said the Ni Vanuatu crew showed commendable patience and understanding as they awaited arrangements to take them home.
“Along with other crew members on the three ships, our Ni Vanuatu crew were safe and well looked after but were naturally anxious to get home to be reunited with their family and friends,” Mr Myrmell said.
“Our Ni Vanuatu crew members are very special members of our onboard team and they made a great contribution to keeping spirits high among their colleagues while repatriation arrangements were worked out.
“These arrangements have taken time but we were committed to getting our crew safely home and we have now been able to achieve this with our Ni Vanuatu colleagues.
“P&O Cruises has a close and enduring bond with Vanuatu and we want to thank the Government for working alongside us to return their people home.”
The three P&O Cruises ships are among a number of cruise ships located off Manila following the worldwide pause in cruise operations due to COVID-19.