70,000 stranded on cruise ships during pandemic as unpaid crews beg to return home

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Seventy thousand crew members in 102 ships are stranded in American waters amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Some of the ships saw infections and fatalities among the crew, but most of the ships had no confirmed cases.

National and local governments have prevented crews from disembarking to prevent further cases of COVID-19 on their territories.

Carolina Vásquez has lost track of days and nights, unable to see the sunlight when she was trapped for two weeks in a windowless cruise ship cabin when a fever seized her body.

The worst night of her meeting with COVID-19, the Chilean woman, online cook on the ship Greg Mortimer, gathered the strength to take a cold shower fearing the worst: losing consciousness while being isolated from others.

Vásquez, 36, and tens of thousands of other crew members have been trapped for weeks on board dozens of cruise ships around the world – long after governments and cruise lines negotiated the landing of their passengers. Some fell ill and died; others have survived but are no longer paid.

The total number of crew members stranded worldwide was not immediately available.

Carolina Vasquez, she mounted a tender in the Falkland Islands, as a crew member on board the Greg Mortimer, a ship operated by the Australian company Aurora Expeditions and belonging to a company from Miami. Vasquez was trapped in a windowless cruise cabin and COVID-19. The ship floats off the coast of Uruguay

Carolina Vasquez, she is tendering to the Falkland Islands, as a crew member aboard the Greg Mortimer, a ship operated by the Australian company Aurora Expeditions and owned by a company from Miami. Vasquez was trapped in a windowless cruise cabin and COVID-19. The ship floats off the coast of Uruguay

“I never thought it would turn into a tragic and terrifying horror story,” Vásquez told The Associated Press in an interview via mobile phone application of the Greg Mortimer, a floating Antarctic cruise ship in the off Uruguay. Thirty-six crew members fell ill on the ship.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last month that about 80,000 crewmembers remained on board ships off the coast of the United States after most passengers disembarked.

Dr. Mauricio Usme, he is aboard the Greg Mortimer. Dr. Usme said he had been pressured by the captain and other cruise lines and owners to change the health declaration to be accepted at ports. Over half of passengers and crew tested positive for COVID-19, including Dr. Usme

Dr. Mauricio Usme, he is aboard the Greg Mortimer. Dr. Usme said he had been pressured by the captain and other cruise lines and owners to change the health declaration to be accepted at ports. Over half of the passengers and crew tested positive for COVID-19, including Dr. Usme

As cases and deaths of coronavirus have increased worldwide, the CDC and health officials from other countries have expanded the list of conditions to be met before crews disembark.

Cruise lines must bring each crew member home directly by charter plane or private car without the use of rental vehicles or taxis. To complicate this mission, the CDC obliges company directors to accept criminal sanctions if the crew members do not comply with the orders of the health authorities to stay away from public transport and restaurants on the way to return.

“The criminal sanctions gave us (and our lawyers) a break,” wrote Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley in a letter to crew members earlier this week, but added that company officials had finally agreed to sign.

Melinda Mann shows the empty deck aboard the Koningsdam, a Holland America cruise ship off the coast of Ensenada, Mexico. Mann, a youth program manager for the cruise line, stayed on board for 50 days as the CDC and cruise lines negotiate terms to disembark crew and passengers amid the coronavirus pandemic

Melinda Mann shows the empty deck aboard the Koningsdam, a Holland America cruise ship off the coast of Ensenada, Mexico. Mann, a youth program manager for the cruise line, stayed on board for 50 days as the CDC and cruise lines negotiate terms to disembark crew and passengers amid the coronavirus pandemic

Melinda Mann, 25, youth program manager for Holland America, spent more than 50 days without walking on land before finally disembarking from the Koningsdam ship on Friday in Los Angeles. Before being transferred to Koningsdam, she tried to leave another ship with other American crew members last week, but the ship’s security officers arrested them.

For 21 hours a day, Mann remained isolated in a 150 square foot (14 square meter) cruise cabin that is smaller than her bedroom in her home in Midland, Georgia. She read 30 books and could only leave her room three times a day to go around the ship. Her contract ended on April 18, so she was not paid for weeks.

“Keeping me in captivity for so long is absolutely ridiculous,” Mann said in a telephone interview.

Earlier this week in Nassau, Bahamas, Canadian crew members aboard the Emerald Princess were ordered to prepare to be brought home on a charter plane. But the Bahamian government ultimately did not allow the ship to dock.

Leah Prasad’s husband is among the stranded crew members. Prasad said she spent hours tracking down government agencies to help her husband, a butler for Carnival.

“He becomes discouraged. He’s stuck in a cabin, ”said Prasad. “It is not good for his mental health.

A number of cruise ships are photos waiting at sea in the Philippines

A number of cruise ships are photos waiting at sea in the Philippines

Crew members are pictured aboard the cruise ship Norwegian Epic docked in the port of Miami, seated on their balconies. Most crew members trapped in ships with no confirmed cases but rejected by governments due to new rules to avoid importing more virus cases

Crew members are pictured aboard the cruise ship Norwegian Epic docked in the port of Miami, seated on their balconies. Most crew members stuck in ships with no confirmed cases but rejected by governments due to new rules to avoid importing more virus cases

Angela Savard, Foreign Affairs Spokesperson for Canada, said that the government continues to explore options to bring Canadians home.

For those aboard the Greg Mortimer in Montevideo, despair sets in, crew members told the PA.

The Antarctic cruise set sail for Argentina on March 15, after a pandemic had already been declared. The ship’s doctor, Dr. Mauricio Usme, said that when the first passenger fell ill on March 22, he was forced by the captain, the cruise line and the owners to change the health conditions that had to be met in order for the ship is admitted. in ports.

Dr. Usme refused. The ship anchored in the port of Montevideo on March 27. More than half of its passengers and crew members tested positive for COVID-19. Finally, on April 10, 127 passengers, some of whom were infected, were allowed to disembark and return home to Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada and Europe. Crew members were invited to stay on board.

The Grand Princess cruise is pictured moored at the port of Oakland in California. Hundreds of passengers have disembarked from the ship, some of whom have tested positive for the new coronavirus. Three cruise ships that have not carried passengers or crew with the coronavirus will dock at the port of Oakland for several months

The Grand Princess cruise is pictured moored at the port of Oakland, California. Hundreds of passengers have disembarked from the ship, some of whom have tested positive for the new coronavirus. Three cruise ships that did not carry passengers or crew with the coronavirus will dock at the port of Oakland for several months

The doctor was hospitalized in an intensive care unit in Montevideo, with a member of the Filipino crew who died later.

“People are exhausted and mentally exhausted,” said Dr. Usme, now recovered and back on the Greg Mortimer. “It is a complex situation. You feel very vulnerable and threatened with imminent death.

CMI, the Miami-based company that manages the boat, said it “could not get the necessary permits” to allow crew members of 22 nationalities to return home, but said they were still under contract and paid.

Marvin Paz Medina, a Honduran who works as a merchant of the ship, sent a video to the PA of his small cabin of about 70 square feet (6.5 square meters), where he has been detained for more than 35 days. “It is difficult to be locked up all day, looking at the same four walls,” he said.

Paz Medina says his children keep asking him when he comes home, but he has no answer.

“We are trapped, feeling this anxiety at all times of falling seriously ill,” said Paz Medina. “We don’t want it anymore. We want to go home.

A passenger disembarks from the Australian cruise ship Greg Mortimer with others on their way to Montevideo International Airport, Uruguay, pictured last month. The ship has been anchored off the coast of Uruguay since March 27 and more than half of its passengers and crew members have been infected with a coronavirus.

A passenger disembarks from the Australian cruise ship Greg Mortimer along with others on their way to Montevideo International Airport, Uruguay, pictured last month. The ship has been anchored off the coast of Uruguay since March 27, and more than half of its passengers and crew members have been infected with a coronavirus.

Satellite images reveal fleets of empty cruise ships huddled in the Caribbean and the Philippines because they cannot dock due to the coronavirus pandemic

Satellite images have revealed fleets of empty cruise ships grouping together at sea because they cannot anchor in ports.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, few industries have been hit harder than the cruise industry.

The vessels are considered floating petri dishes and, while the passengers are no longer there, several crew members are still.

Now, with no incoming reservations and unable to dock, many have decided to regroup in the Atlantic, the Caribbean and the South China Sea to free themselves from the main shipping lanes.

Satellite images revealed that empty cruise ships were grouping together to clear the main shipping lanes. Pictured: cruise ships off the Bahamas, May 2

Satellite images revealed that empty cruise ships were grouping together to clear the main shipping lanes. Pictured: cruise ships off the Bahamas, May 2

Three groups of cruise ships, with 15 in total, are grouped off Coco Cay and Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas

Three groups of cruise ships, with 15 in total, are grouped off Coco Cay and Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas

Because there are not enough traditional berths to accommodate cruise ships, many have been forced to leave the sea.

Two ports, Coco Cay and Great Stirrup Cay, in the Bahamas, where the Royal Caribbean ship and Norwegian cruise ships store ships.

According to The Drive, the ships are divided into three groups – 15 in total – which are approximately 30 miles from each other.

They have names like Harmony of the Seas, Celebrity Edge and Azamara Pursuit.

There are also at least 12 cruise ships, such as the MV Ruby Princess, which sit just off the coast of the Philippines.

The Philippine Coast Guard says cruise ships must wait for clearance from the Quarantine Bureau before docking in Manila.

There are currently no passengers on the cruise liners, but many crew members are still on board.

As of May 5, CNN reports that there are more than 57,000 crew members on 74 cruise ships in and around American ports, the Bahamas and the Caribbean.

A dozen cruise ships, such as the Ruby Princess, sit off the coast of the Philippines (photo)

A dozen cruise ships, such as the Ruby Princess, sit off the coast of the Philippines (photo)

Hundreds of others are stranded around the world and, as ships cannot dock, they cannot return home.

Alex Adkins, a senior technician on Freedom of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean ship, says he has been at sea since mid-March when the last guests disembarked.

“Since then, we have no guests and are floating off the coast of Barbados,” Adkins, an American, told CNN.

The employees said they don’t understand why they’re not free to leave the ships if they cleared the 14-day quarantine.

“I hope we are not forgotten, to be honest,” MaShawn Morton, a Princess Cruises employee, told CNN.

“No one seems to care what happens to us here. “

Carnival Cruise Line says it plans to resume operations in August, but Norwegian Cruise Line says there is “substantial doubt” about its future.

“We believe that the continuing effects of COVID-19 on our business and our global reservations have had and will continue to have a significant impact on our financial results and liquidity, and this negative impact could continue well beyond the confinement of ‘such an epidemic,’ the company’s filing on Tuesday.

It is not the first time that cruise ships have been photographed together.

Last week, cruise ships and cargo ships forced to drop anchor off the Isle of Wight, England, to avoid busy shipping lanes.

A spokesman for the UK Department of Transport confirmed that some ships have been given higher priority due to the crisis and that cruise ships are currently given low priority as they carry no passengers.

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