[WATCH] Maltese elderly couple relieved to be back home

Listen to the first comments of Maltese elderly couple that were allowed to disembark in Malta after their cruise was aborted

Marthese Bonello and Joseph Mercieca back in Malta
Marthese Bonello and Joseph Mercieca back in Malta
Maltese elderly couple's first comments

This had to be the holiday of a lifetime for Marthese Bonello and Joseph Mercieca but the coronavirus had other plans.

They boarded the cruise ship Columbus in Sydney, Australia on 25 February for a South-East Asia tour but on 14 March, the cruise was abandoned and the operator ordered the ship to return back to the UK on a non-stop voyage.

The couple were the only Maltese on board the vessel and asked to be disembarked in Malta when the ship stopped for refuelling outside territorial waters.

The disembarkation happened this morning and the couple were brought ashore this afternoon.

Relieved to be back on solid ground, Bonello and Mercieca said they were happy to be safe in Malta.

"Had we gone to the UK we do not know when it we would have made it back," they said, thanking the Maltese government for taking a humanitarian decision to allow them to disembark.

They also thanked the media for taking up their cause and help influence the decision.

"This was a humanitarian decision based on our vulnerability," Mercieca said.

READ ALSO: Maltese elderly couple on aborted cruise brought ashore

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