Crew members of cruise ship still stranded in Lisbon, tourists repatriated a month ago

in World · 23-04-2020 13:50:00 · 3 Comments

By Meryem Dutoglu

The implications of the pandemic and the lockdown reveal social inequalities once more as around 500 hundred crew members remain stranded on the cruise ship MSC Fantasia, a ship docked in Lisbon Port since 22 March.

Owned by the Mediterranean Shipping Company, the cruise ship MSC Fantasia departed from Brazil on 9 March on its way to Italy but it never made it to its final destination due to covid-19 outbreak.

The ship was diverted to Lisbon with 1,338 passengers and around 500 crew member on 22 March.

Immediately after, the first group of 27 passengers (Portuguese nationals and residents) disembarked from the ship.

Remaining passengers have not been tested. The testing was left to the passengers’ own countries as they were rushed to the airport by police escort on 24 March. They were mostly from EU, Britain, Brazil and Australia. They were repatriated, with flights charted by MSC Cruises[1].

Since then the crew –around 500- are still onboard, not getting paid and still waiting for an unknown date of repatriation. They are most likely to be non-EU as they are told that their embassies are informed but borders are closed. They are confined individually in the cabins, not allowed to step out. Food is provided from outside. They have very slow Wi-Fi connection which hardly allows them to make WhatsApp calls.

The Captain makes daily announcements and updates them. Indeed, what is announced since a month is that there is no update regarding to their return home.

In the announce made on 21 April that I recorded from outside of the ship, the Captain talks about “a colleague” who has some health condition yet “not related to covid-19 “, it is not clear what health condition it is. The Captain thanks the crew at the end of recording and asks crew to “turn their device off when not using internet, so the speed of internet can be increased as the company needs it”.

I reached out to crew. Keeping anonymous, for some of them, the ship seems safer than their own country, for now. For others, they prefer to be confined in their home, with families.

When it comes to the 1,338 passengers who pay thousands of euros for luxury cruise holiday, authorities announced proudly that they have been “repatriated” successfully. When it comes to crew, they are still onboard, without getting paid and awaiting any news regarding their return home.


Comments:

more than 30 mauritian {MAURITIUS] members of the crew are also locked down in their cabin since 8th April without good internet connection /not being paid/no activities/.what about HUMAN RIGHTS . why Maurt itian government is refusing access to his Citizen.The company will pay the cost ...let them confined in there respective countries.. they are PRISONERS EATING LIKE DOGS. [ DODO TV MANGER DODO TV DODO how long. they are mentally sick and its time for GREVE DE LA FAIM

By deven goundan from Other on 01-05-2020 07:53

There are also 4 Romanians on the board, members of the crew. Romania is in EU! Why can’t they come home to their families?!! Why?! They are locked down in their cabiyns since 8th of April 2020, today is 28th and they still don’t know wken this lock down is off!! So they are being prisoners on MSC Fantasia, they are starving, they have to eat only rice!! Everyday rice!! They are not paid! There were at least 2 cases of Coronavirus on the board, why MSC doesn’t say anything about this?! Hey, police from Portugal, are you sleeping?! Go to MSC Fantasia and let the members of the crew go home!! Investigate what is going there?!!

By Grace from Other on 28-04-2020 09:32

The ship is registered in Panama, so Panamese labour laws will apply to the crew, even if MSC is an Italian-Swiss company or the ship is berthed in Lisbon.
Another social drama. I hope ITF / ILO will take the defence of these seafarers.

By Fallentheyn Guido from Other on 27-04-2020 09:34
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