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Home » Cruise » Royal Caribbean crew on hunger strike until company proves it is sending them home – Miami Herald
Crew members on a cruise ship
Crew members on Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas ship look out at the Oasis of the Seas ship as crew members transfer between the ships at the company’s private islands in the Bahamas on May 8, 2020. ROYAL CARIBBEAN CREW

Royal Caribbean crew on hunger strike until company proves it is sending them home – Miami Herald

PortandTerminal.com, May 9, 2020

MIAMI, FL – The Miami Herald is reporting that fifteen Romanian crew members on Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas cruise ship say they are on a hunger strike until the company agrees to send them home.

The Navigator of the Seas is currently at anchor between the coast of Florida and the Bahamas amongst dozens of other cruise ships in a similar situation.

After nearly two months stranded at sea since the industry halted operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic on March 13, the crew members, who have not eaten since Thursday afternoon, told the Miami Herald they are desperate. The group of 15 from Romania does not want their names used for fear of retaliation from the company, which they say has threatened to punish workers if they talk to journalists.

FILE PHOTO: Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas
FILE PHOTO: Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas

“My mental health is degrading,” one said. “We do not have any more hope.”

A spokesperson for the company, Jonathon Fishman, said the company had fixed the situation. “The situation was resolved this morning after an amicable discussion between our captain and our crew members,” he said via email on Friday.

Trapped crew members on other cruise ships are also feeling the strain

Fifteen crew members on Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas cruise ship say they are on a hunger strike until the company agrees to send them home.

After nearly two months stranded at sea since the industry halted operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic on March 13, the crew members, who have not eaten since Thursday afternoon, told the Miami Herald they are desperate. The group of 15 from Romania does not want their names used for fear of retaliation from the company, which they say has threatened to punish workers if they talk to journalists.

“My mental health is degrading,” one said. “We do not have any more hope.”

A spokesperson for the company, Jonathon Fishman, said the company had fixed the situation. “The situation was resolved this morning after an amicable discussion between our captain and our crew members,” he said via email on Friday.

Royal Caribbean transferred the Romanians, who originally worked on the Anthem of the Seas ship, to the Navigator ship at the company’s private island in the Bahamas on Wednesday ahead of a planned charter flight from Miami to Romania on May 16. But on Thursday, Bayley announced in a letter to employees obtained by the Herald that the Romanians would be transferred to a different ship, the Enchantment of the Seas, and flown from Barbados to Romania on May 21.

The crew members said the company did not provide an explanation for the delay, the most recent of several since they were first told they would be going home on March 30.

Fishman said Royal Caribbean Cruises has repatriated 14,000 of its 70,000 ship employees (around 100 per ship are needed for operations with no passengers).

The decision to go on a hunger strike did not come easily, the crew members said. “We started this hunger strike because someone needs to do something,” one said. “The point is our mental health. The mental health is dropping down.”

A young Polish crew member jumped overboard from the cruise ship Jewel of the Seas on April 30, while the vessel was off the coast of Greece. His body was not found.

Last week, a Royal Caribbean crew member went overboard from the Jewel of the Seas ship near Greece; his body was never found.

In a letter to employees this week, Bayley said the company has counseling services available. “Crew life has unique stresses and pressures,” he wrote. “Just recently,we suffered the tragic loss of a colleague aboard Jewel, and our hearts go out to his family, friends and colleagues.“

One of the fasting crew members said his father in Romania is ill, and his concerns for his father are wearing on him as he remains stuck in the Caribbean.

“Only thinking about something happening to him, I can barely get out of bed in the morning,” he said. “This ship will be for two days in Miami. Why can’t they send us in an airplane?”

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