Group: Bring home Pinoy crewmen from virus-hit cruise ship in US

LABOR group Partido Manggagawa (PM) Saturday, March 14, called on the Philippine government to work on the repatriation of the more than 500 Filipino crew members of the Grand Princess cruise ship, which has been hit by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) and is docked in San Francisco, California.

In a statement, PM chair Rene Magtubo said the Philippine government should already work on the evacuation and repatriation of the crew of the Grand Princess instead of allowing the plan of United States authorities to let them sail away with crew members still on board.

“The decision by US authorities to quarantine the crew on the Grand Princess means allowing the ship to be a petri dish and putting at risk the health and life of 1,100 workers,” said Magtubo.

“We demand their evacuation and repatriation to the Philippines of the 529 Filipino crew,” he added.

The labor leader said the mistakes that were committed with the Diamond Princess cruise ship, wherein both passengers and crew members were quarantined inside the ship by Japanese authorities, shouldn’t be repeated.

Allowing 1,100 crew members to sail away aboard Grand Princess, he added, will also result to a similar spread of infection.

“We demand that the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) make representation to the US authorities on behalf of the Filipino crew of the Grand Princess,” said Magtubo.

Last Monday, the Covid-19-stricken cruise ship docked in Oakland, California to begin unloading its passengers and allow them to start the mandatory quarantine period on land.

After unloading all passengers, the Grand Princess is expected to leave the San Francisco Bay with its more than 1,000 crew members still onboard.

Data from the Department of Health shows that six Filipino crew members of the Grand Princess cruise ship have already tested positive of Covid-19. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)