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Samoan sailors share their fears about virus

The spread of the coronavirus in China and increasing infection across the globe is worrying Samoan sailors serving on different vessels.

A sailor on the 139,400 gross tonne cruise ship MSC Divina, Bisto Likisone, told the Samoa Observer during an interview that they remain concerned about their safety as they pass through countries affected by the coronavirus. 

"Even though there is no cases of coronavirus being reported on the ferries that we're on but we're still worried because the virus has no cure," he said.

Mr. Likisone is one of 22 Samoan sailors working on the MSC Divina and he said they have already passed through Miami, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Bahamas, Honduras and Florida.

The Samoans are due to travel back to Samoa towards the end of this month and they cannot wait to get back. 

Mr. Likisone will return with four colleagues and another five will fly off to replace them.

"I have been working for ten months now starting from May last year and I'll head home on the 21st of this month," he said.

His colleague, Charles Fruean Tofilau, expressed similar sentiments and added that they cannot wait to return home.

"My work on MSC Divina will end around July or August, but hearing about the virus I just want to come back home," he said.

Mr. Tofilau said he wished he was on the same trip home with the other five Samoan sailors on February 21, but he cannot breach his contract and has to wait.

Other Samoan sailors, who are currently in Brazil say that they are safe, will transit through China.

"There are health check-ups being done on the cruise so that when it's time to go home, we will know that we are free from the coronavirus," says Mr Tofilau.

Mr. Tofilau and Mr. Likisone work on the same cruise ship but have different embarking times. 

The Samoan sailors said they acknowledged the need to be placed in quarantine for 14 days at the Faleolo clinic for tests, when they fly into the country from China.

"We are aware of the process in Samoa, and we know and understand that it is for the safety of our people as well," he added.

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