Two seafarers dead on cruise ships while awaiting repatriation

Two more cruise ship workers have died while awaiting repatriation, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has said.

The victims were a young female on Regal Princess and a young crewmember of the Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas.

The ITF said that “whilst we await the outcome of the investigation it appears that the young Ukrainian seafarer took her own life in the Port of Rotterdam whilst awaiting repatriation home. We are currently seeking more information about the circumstances of the man’s death on board the Mariner of the Seas”.

Regal Princess arrived in Rotterdam on May 6th for the final phase of the repatriation process. The seafarers on board, including the deceased woman, were scheduled to return home on a charter flight on May 8th, but it was cancelled. Crew members were told that the next available flight was on May 12th, but the women jumped from the ship and died after her chartered flight home was cancelled.

Four crew members are now reported to have killed themselves in less than two weeks. On May 9th a Carnival team member from Hungary died on board the Carnival Breeze. This followed the death of a Royal Caribbean crew member from Poland who jumped overboard from the Jewel of the Seas on April 30th.

David Heindel, ITF seafarers’ section chair, said that “seafarers are being penalized by the strict restrictions put in place by governments to contain the spread of the virus despite no justification or scientific proof that seafarers on cruise vessels pose any greater risk than other categories of workers or members of the public”.

He added that “it’s time for crews to be treated as humanely as passengers were. The ITF and our social partners warned just last week that failure to do so risks the wellbeing of seafarers, maritime safety, as well as the supply chains that the world relies on. Time has come to get these seafarers’ home before we see more people taking their lives”.