P&O Cruises Australia has answered a plea for help from a group of young Australian Rotary volunteers, stranded in Vanuatu following the collapse of Air Vanuatu.

The students, many of them teenagers from Albury in NSW, were volunteering for a youth project run by the Hive Rotary Club Australia when the airline abruptly cancelled all flights, leaving them with no way to get off their remote island and come home.

P&O came to the rescue by offering to bring them home on Pacific Adventure, which they boarded in Port Vila on Friday (17 May), at no cost.

The 16 students, as well as group chaperones, are enjoying a relaxing holiday at sea, including a visit to beautiful Mystery Island, which is a well-deserved reward after their work in Vanuatu running health clinics and providing medical assistance and training.

“P&O Cruises Australia is delighted to help this inspiring group of students get home. We are proud of our Australian heritage that extends back more than 90 years, and answering a call to help young Australians stranded a long way from home, is the right thing to do,” said P&O Cruises Australia Senior Vice President Peter Little.

They arrived in Vanuatu on 5 May, participating in a program called Paying It Forward, run by the Rotary Club, and expressed their gratitude to P&O.

“We were jumping for joy when P&O made their offer, after such a frustrating and stressful few days wondering how we were going to get home. This will be an exciting and wonderful way to finish our volunteering trip,” said Hive Rotary President Kellie Kadaoui.

“Vanuatu is a favourite destination for our cruise guests, and we were inspired by the students who volunteered their time to help local communities,” said Mr Little.

P&O thanks the Australian Border Force and Vanuatu Tourism Office for their assistance to allow this to happen. Pacific Adventure will arrive back in Sydney on Thursday 23 May