Filipino seafarers have set a new record of sending home US$6.14 billion in remittances last year.

On Sunday, Aniceto Bertiz III, a member of the Philippine House of Representatives, said Filipino seafarers sent home US$6.14 billion (about 318 billion pesos) last year, which is 4.6% higher than the amount sent back in 2017. Filipino sailors sent some $5.87 billion back home in 2017, Manila Standard reported.

“The amount does not include money remitted via non-bank channels as well as cash physically brought home by sailors on vacations,” Bertiz said.

Bertiz said the top sources of cash transfers from the Filipino workers were the United States, Singapore, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Greece, Panama, Cyprus and Norway.

“We see the demand for Filipino sailors rising steadily in tandem with international merchant ship traffic, as economies around the world continue to expand,” he said.

Filipino seafarers work on bulk carriers, container ships, oil, gas, chemical and tankers carrying other products, plus general cargo ships. Many Filipinos also provide housekeeping, guest relations, culinary, front office and other maintenance services on cruise ships and floating casinos.

Data from Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas – the Philippines central bank – show that remittances from Filipino workers grew by 3% year-on-year in 2018 and reached $32.2 billion, which is the highest annual level to date.

More than 10 million Filipinos work overseas for better opportunities and to support their families. Of this number, around 2-3 million work in the Middle East and Africa.