A total of 810 Filipinos have boarded the ship out of conflict-stricken Libya, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Friday, adding the vessel is already on its way to Malta.
From Malta, the Filipino evacuees will be fetched by Philippine Airlines planes and fly them straight to Manila late Friday, Manila time, DFA spokesman Charles Jose said in a text message.
The ship proceeded to Malta after completing its mission of picking up 443 Filipinos workers in Benghazi and 367 in Misrata on Aug. 13 and 14.
Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said the ship will no longer go back to Libya, adding all evacuations will now be done by land because the borders in Tunisia and Egypt have re-opened.
Before the second civil war erupted this year, around 13,000 Filipinos are working in Libya.
The Philippine government enforced the mandatory evacuation of its workers due to the lawlessness, armed conflict and widespread violence in Libya. However, majority of them refused to leave their jobs and chose to stay behind.
According to the DFA, at least 1,000 have returned to the Philippines since it carried out the evacuations in June.
The DFA said it will continue to urge the remaining workers in Libya to leave to keep them out of harm’s way. PNA