(JAMAICA GLEANER) – The group of 43 heartbroken Jamaican ship workers aboard the Marella Discovery 2 have now docked in Southampton in the United Kingdom, but with sunken spirits.
“We are all mentally drained and frustrated,” one of them told The Gleaner late Saturday evening.
Their wrenched emotions were further twisted as they watched some of their colleagues from other countries disembark the vessel.
There has been no indication whether the Jamaicans will be allowed by the British government to disembark.
From April 2-3 they were just 12 miles south of Port Royal in Kingston after the vessel refuelled.
But with a ban on incoming passengers as part of Jamaica’s coronavirus containment measures, they needed special permission to disembark the ship.
After more than 24 hours anchored at sea and with no response coming from the Government following the request for landing, the captain departed to the Dominican Republic and then to Portugal where they were also denied landing.
Now, in Southampton, the Jamaicans remain on the ship, uncertain about their next move.
For most of them, their employment contracts have come to an end since worldwide, cruises have been halted, however, a few of them will continue to work.
Meanwhile, the mother of one of the Jamaicans said despite the uncertainties, there is some relief that the ship has now docked.
“I feel a little bit better,” she told The Gleaner.
A week earlier, she said it had been extremely worrisome for her husband.
According to the woman, now in her 70s, her husband is now somewhat relieved too, but remains very anxious.
“Every news he listens, it’s like he is glued to the radio,” she said.
The retiree said their daughter has reported that being on the ship in England has been very cold at times.
“She is confused and worried but still hoping that God will make a way,” said the mother.
In the meantime, attorney-at-law Jennifer Housen has written to Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith asking that she moves expeditiously to arrange the return of the Jamaicans.
Housen, who said she represents some of the Jamaicans on board, said crew members from Indonesia, Philippines, Poland, Brazil, Chile, India and Mexico have disembarked the vessel with flights arranged to their respective countries.
“There seems to simply be public utterances of assistance, with the crew members being wholly unaware of such, as no information has been disseminated to them from the ministry or otherwise,” Housen said in the letter, a copy of which has been obtained by The Gleaner.
The foreign affairs minister could not be immediately reached for a comment as calls to her cellphone and a WhatsApp message were not answered.