(St. Lucia News Online) — The cries for help from Saint Lucians on cruise ships continue to increase in desperation by the day based on the number of emails received by our newsroom and the posts on social media.
They just want one thing: to come home and are calling on the prime minister and the minister of tourism to at least say something, even if they can’t do anything immediately.
Saint Lucians are among thousands of Caribbean nationals on cruise ships which are unable to unload human cargo due to the country-border restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The tone from the concerned Saint Lucians is humble. They just need the government to respond to their requests and get in touch with the cruise ships, at least.
Below are some of the comments/emails received:
I would like to humbly request the Saint Lucia government to assist hundreds of Saint Lucian seafarers who are stranded in the US shores to get back home. The cruise companies have been going above and beyond in taking care of us and keeping us safe on board the ships.
All cruise ships have suspended guest operations since March 12th. All crew members have been in quarantine on board for almost one month and are in good health. We are unable to fly back home due to flight suspensions. All cruise ships companies have coordinated with the Philippines and the Indonesian governments and have arranged chartered flights for their crew from these countries. Also, the company is willing to pay for hotel quarantine for its crew members in the respective countries. However, Saint Lucians are still not allowed to disembark in any ports as we don’t have a clear directive from the Saint Lucia government. Neither do we have any means of arranging the chartered flights.
I kindly request the Saint Lucia government to try and bring we Saint Lucians home in safe coordinated efforts with cruise ship companies. We need the Saint Lucia government to formulate an evacuation and quarantine plan as soon as possible for us. All the cruise companies are ready to spend the required amount for the well-being of their crew members. We just need the Saint Lucia government to come forward and allow chartered-flight operations for non-affected crew members. Thank you. We are currently located in Miami and some at Nassau.
Please, we are crying out here as seafarers. Help us come home to Saint Lucia and other neighbouring countries cause we have families also and we are here alone — no personal hygiene items, no counselling, no more working. We are being quarantined and isolated here and the US will not allow any cruise ship with the virus to disembark crew. Let the ones that are safe come home please MR PRIME MINISTER. We don’t mind getting more quarantine but we want a peace of mind.
We have been quarantined from March 13. We have our kids, families in St. Lucia. Other nationalities got help from their government to get chartered flights home. Why can’t we get too?
A pleasant good day to you. The cruise ship company has informed us about getting in touch with the government and they haven’t got a reply on when our government will allow them to send us home. The company is paying all flights and taking full responsibility for us returning home safely and the only help they need is to get an answer from the government of Saint Lucia to give the go-ahead.
I have sent emails and even called the Prime Minister’s Office but the secretary stated he has no information about it. We are willing to go in quarantine for more than 15 days because we understand how important it is to save the lives of our families, neighbours, friends, and country. We have no issues with the protocol and we understand that decision has to be made to save our people however we went up to help our families to make a bread and we never knew this situation would get to this point. We are appealing to the government to please give the company the go-ahead before the situation gets worse.
We have no positive cases on our ship. I’m on the Carnival Fascination. I’ve been in the company for four years and this contract this month will be 9 months since I’m on board. My date to sign off was not possible due to the COVID-19 protocols back home which I respect 100%. We have a total of 10 crew members from St. Lucia here and we also have other St. Lucians on the sister ships of the company. The company has 27 ships in total so we are appealing to the government, please, the company is awaiting the go-ahead
Temperature checks are mandatory for every crew member, every day. Social distancing is highly implemented. Most governments have given the company the okay for only crew members to come in. The ship is getting empty day by day and we are stuck here. The efforts of the cruise company have been way above and beyond and we are pleading with the government, it’s not getting any better.
SHORN (video message)