Cruise Lines Recruit Heavily From Philippines, CDC Data Suggests

FILE PHOTO: A small fishing boat passes by the cruise ship, Ruby Princess on May 7, 2020 in the waters of Manila Bay, Philippines. The Ruby Princess cruise ship, which is linked to 21 deaths and more than 600 coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, has sailed into Philippine waters on Thursday en route to drop off Filipino crew in Manila. The cruise ship, which is the subject of investigation in Australia, joins at least 16 other cruise ships at anchor waiting for their more than 5,000 Filipino crew to be tested for the coronavirus before disembarking as part of strict quarantine protocols. (Photo by Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)

By Jonathan Levin

Cruise lines appear to recruit nearly half of their crew members from the Philippines and Indonesia, according to new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the CDC has been closely monitoring and approving crew-member disembarkations in U.S. waters. Crew members bound for the Philippines and Indonesia accounted for about 46% since April 15.

Cruise lines are typically incorporated outside the U.S., where they aren’t subject to minimum-wage requirements and other restrictions. Only 282 of the 7,610 employees tracked by the CDC were Americans.

The CDC data reflect a small sample of overall crew members on cruise ships, but may serve as a proxy for the broader industry.

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.