'Captive' cruise staff beg to be arrested

4 min read
Cruise ship staff being "held captive" on a quarantined vessel off the US coast are starting to beg to be arrested after almost 50 days locked down at sea.
About 750 crew members from 100 countries have been trapped on the MS Oosterdam in international waters since passengers were taken off the ship on March 14.

Staff remained on-board at the time because operations were expected to resume following a 30 day halt imposed on the cruise industry to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead, the global crisis worsened, and the Centre of Disease Control (CDC) issued a No Sail Order which prohibits anyone on the ship from disembarking in the US – including American citizens.

The ocean liner is now docked at the Port of San Pedro but no one is allowed to get off until permission is granted by the CDC – and it's not yet known when that will come. It's expected to depart for Mexico - where some crew members from other countries will join another ship to make it easier for them to return home when given the green light - sometime today.

The workers on MS Oosterdam have been confined to their tiny cabins for 45 days straight with no end in sight. Many of them are growing increasingly anxious and fearful.

The ship's youth project manager Melinda Mann, 25, told news.com.au that she had already completed a two-week quarantine in her cabin after several workers became sick.

She has also volunteered to be tested for COVID-19 and to comply with all other requirements on US soil.

"I'm an American citizen willing to go into a government-approved quarantine facility and do whatever is required but they won't let me on land," she said.

"I'm being held captive.

"I spend 21 hours a day in my cabin. My cabin is around 200 square feet. I'm allowed out for meals and a quick walking break around the ship. I'm not being paid.…
Megan Palin in the United States
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