Government making arrangement to bring home Jamaicans stuck at sea

The Marella Discovery II at Port Royal in January.

The government is currently making arrangements for the repatriation of the 43 Jamaican crew members aboard Marella Discovery II cruise ship who did not make it into the country despite being in Jamaican waters earlier this month.

Arrangements are also being made to assist just over 2,000 Jamaicans currently at sea. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Kamina Johnson- Smith made the announcement during a virtual press conference on Monday (April 20).

“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,” Johnson-Smith said regarding the 2000.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Kamina Johnson-Smith.

As it relates to the those on the Marella Discovery II, the minister said the government is in touch with the owner of the cruise line about arrangements to bring the crew members home, along with an additional 30 Jamaicans who have been identified as non-essential crew aboard other cruise ships abroad.

“This does, however, require the cruise line to undertake their obligations under the maritime labour conventions which guide not only Jamaica but they guide The Bahamas to which the Marella Discovery II is registered, and as signatory countries we expect international law to be adhered to,” Johnson-Smith said.

Meetings have been arranged for Tuesday (April 21) between Jamaica’s high commissioner to the United Kingdom and the chair of the Jamaica Tourist Board on the matter. Johnson-Smith said while the foreign affairs ministry and the cruise industry do not generally relate, the ministry has been working closely with the Ministry of Tourism and its agencies to find the best solutions possible to bring the workers home.