GIS – 10 June 2020: The repatriation of stranded Mauritians from abroad is a priority of Government and is an ongoing process. Prior to lockdown in Mauritius, 47 Mauritians were repatriated in January and February from China, 935 stranded Mauritians were repatriated in March, 111 in April and 448 in May. As for the month of June, 342 Mauritians have already been repatriated and another 645 are expected to reach the country by the end of June.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mr Nandcoomar Bodha, made this statement, today, in the National Assembly, in reply to a Private Notice Question pertaining to Mauritian nationals stranded abroad amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Minister Bodha highlighted that Government has, as at 06 June 2020 and with the assistance of our Embassies, foreign sanitary authorities, airlines and other stakeholders, repatriated 1883 stranded Mauritians from Australia, Dubai, South Africa, United Kingdom, France, Reunion Island, Maldives and Turkey. He pointed out that all decisions for repatriation are taken by the National Committee chaired by the Prime Minister and depending on the quarantine and treatment capacities. In addition, he stressed that Mauritians are found stranded in 88 countries around the world, as follows: 23 African countries; 23 European countries; 21 Asian countries; 14 countries in Australasia and Americas; four countries in Eastern Europe; and three countries in the Indian Ocean.
Concerning around 2 000 Mauritian crew members working on 21 Cruise ships harboured in 82 ports around the world, the Foreign Affairs Minister underscored that the latter are now converging to assembly ports. The bulk of the Mauritians work for the Royal Caribbean (1 012), MSC Cruise (545) and Celebrity Cruise (160).
Furthermore, Mr Bodha emphasised that his Ministry has, in consultation with the representatives of the Cruise Companies in Mauritius, worked out a repatriation plan for the repatriation of the Mauritian seafarers. According to that plan, three batches of 150 each will be repatriated through Air Mauritius special flights on 13, 24 and 30 June from London and Paris. More flights are scheduled in July according to an agreed timetable, upon which all Mauritian seafarers are expected to be repatriated by the end of August 2020, depending on prevailing circumstances.
He also recalled that stranded Mauritanians fall under four broad categories: those who had a return air ticket prior to lockdown on 19 March in Mauritius; those who could not return to Mauritius because of the lockdown and closure of airspace in the countries where they are located; those who became subsequently stranded because of the extension of lockdown; and those residing abroad who wish to return to Mauritius for various reasons.
It is to be noted that some 1 164 Mauritians are expected to be repatriated in July 2020.