Growing frustration and anxiety among Jamaican ship workers stuck at sea

by April 22nd, 2020

With the closure of the Jamaican borders extended until the end of May, there is growing frustration and anxiety among Jamaican ship workers stuck at sea.

 

On one Royal Caribbean vessel, more than 100 Jamaican employees have now been at sea for more than six weeks, off the coast of the United States, awaiting an ease in the travel restrictions imposed by the government a month ago.

 

While the Prime Minister has expressed a willingness to allow phased re-entry of some stranded workers overseas, the workers on the Royal Caribbean vessel say they feel abandoned and forgotten.

 

In recent times, media reports have focused on some 43 employees aboard the Marella Discovery vessel, but these are just a subset of an estimated 2,000 Jamaicans stranded at sea and at various ports across the world.

 

With no end to the COVID-19 crisis in sight, the workers have been pleading with the government to put forward concrete plans so that they can come home.

 

One employee told Irie FM news that he feels helpless and hopeless, after being at sea for more than six weeks.

 

 

In the meantime, another Jamaican lamented that citizens should not be pleading with the government, as it is their constitutional right to return to their homeland.

 

 

He noted that many other countries have repatriated their citizens who were employed on ships.

 

 

The Royal Caribbean employee further lamented the lack of clarity from the government on the plans as they relate to the repatriation of Jamaicans.