Stranded Mauritian cruise workers finally begin journey home | Environment | The Guardian
Dozens of Mauritian cruise ship workers who were stranded off the coast of Brazil throughout the pandemic have finally started their journey home after desperate appeals to return.A crew member representing the 101 workers, who have been at anchor on three ships off Santos in southern Brazil, said they had not been paid for over six months by the cruise line MSC, one of the companies leading the industry’s return to operations.
But over the weekend, crew workers on one of the liners posted photos on social media of their preparations to disembark and being their journey home. Workers had told the Guardian their physical and mental health were deteriorating. “We are stranded on board for seven months without any salary, and it’s very tough for us because many of us have children, old parents to look after who are also desperately waiting for us,” one of the workers said.
Some of the crew had started a protest on the deck of the luxury cruise ship MSC Poesia to demand their repatriation, with banners that read “Enough is enough” and “Send us home, our lives matter”. Dozens of Mauritian crew also remain stranded on the MSC Musica and the MSC Seaview off the Brazilian port near São Paulo.MSC said it was working hard to repatriate the cruise workers and had provided accommodation, food and medical support to everyone on the ships. It did not comment on the allegations about pay.
The group were among tens of thousands of cruise ship workers who were left stranded at sea when the pandemic struck, even after passengers were allowed back to land.
The Mauritian crew have been awaiting repatriation after the island nation reopened its borders at the beginning of June. They fear they have been caught in a blame game between their government, the cruise company and their agency over their repatriation costs.