Jamaica News: The Government is making arrangements to repatriate the 43 crew members aboard the Marella Discovery 2 cruise ship, which is now docked in the United Kingdom (UK).
The ship was in Jamaican waters for refueling on April 2, when a request was made for the Jamaicans on board to disembark for repatriation, but the vessel left before the Government’s approval could be conveyed.
The vessel travelled to a port in Southampton in the UK where it is currently anchored.
Speaking at a virtual conference on Monday (April 20), Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, said that the Government is in touch with the cruise line to bring the 43 crew members home, along with 30 others on board other ships, who have been identified as non-essential crew.
“We have decided as a Government that we will engage with the owners of the cruise line to bring those persons home,” she said.
“This does, however, require the cruise line to undertake their obligations under the maritime labour conventions, which guide not only Jamaica but The Bahamas, of which the Marella Discovery 2 is registered, and as signatory countries, we expect international law to be adhered to,” she noted.
She said that meetings have already been arranged for today (April 21) between Jamaica’s High Commissioner to the UK and the chair of the Jamaica Tourist Board. Senator Johnson Smith said the Government is seeking to assist the over 2,000 Jamaicans currently at sea, who have been affected by the closure of the Jamaica borders to incoming passengers on March 24 as part of measures to control the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We have 322 Jamaicans across 70 ships on one cruise line. We have 867 crew members on one cruise line across a number of ships, which we are seeking to confirm. We have 90 crew members on one line across six ships. We have 586 on another cruise line across nine ships and we have 128 across four ships, again in varying locations at sea at different ports across the globe,” she said.
Senator Johnson-Smith said that the Ministry has also been reaching out to assist Jamaicans who are stranded in other parts of the world.
“Through our embassies, high commissions and consulates across 20 countries, we have done our very best, and in addition with our honorary consuls and our extremely important diaspora community [we have] been able to identify and provide support,” she said.
“We have sought to ensure that we are able to provide, where possible, accommodation or food where persons have accommodation,” she added.
Source: JIS News