Shipping C.E.O. says sailors are safe

By Matai'a Lanuola Tusani T - Ah Tong 17 May 2020, 8:00AM

The General Manager of the Samoa Shipping Services, Lautimuia Afoa Vaai, has confirmed that three Samoan sailors working overseas, who were tested positive with the coronavirus, have all recovered.

During an interview with the Samoa Observer, Lautimuia said the three sailors were exposed to the virus in April while working on the cruise ships overseas.

“They had very mild symptoms and have recovered,” Lautimuia said. “Blood tests for the three men came back positive and were straight away put in quarantined on a different floor of the cruise ships they were on. 

“They had mild symptoms and were closely monitored while under quarantined. Their follow-up test results came back negative and have recovered.” 

The three men were working in different cruise ships, said Lautimuia. 

“We were in contact with them and also with their families,” he added. 

“We had asked that they inform their families when they were tested positive about it because we didn’t want to cause any panic to their relatives. 

“It was best that the families hear it from the men directly and they had assured their families that they didn’t feel sick but their tests came back positive.” 

The General Manager was also asked to comment on concerns raised by one of the sailors in his Facebook video about being stranded at sea and call to return home. 

In response, Lautimuia said the sailors have been informed and have been assured they will return home once flights resume and closure of borders are lifted. 

He said the men are being taken care of on the cruise ships with agreement between the Government and the shipping agency to care for the sailors. 

“That man on the video had his contract ended and it was unfortunate that he was unable to return home due to border closures,” he said.  “His video does not represent the situation that other 300 Samoan sailors are in. They are being fed without any charges and are living on the cruise ships for the time being until they can come home.” 

In addition, Lautimuia assured the men are not at risk of being exposed to COVID-19 as there are no incoming passengers for the cruise ships. 

“Our advise to our sailors is to be patient and to pray that the pandemic will go away soon,” he said. 

By Matai'a Lanuola Tusani T - Ah Tong 17 May 2020, 8:00AM

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