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Sailors to remain onboard for safety

Samoan sailors currently working on MSC Sorrento cruise company-owned vessels will remain on board after their contracts expire in order to ensure their safety from coronavirus (COVID-19).

And they will be released to begin their travel home only after their employer has ascertained that it is safe for them to transit through New Zealand airports.

That is the undertaking from the cruise ship company as it ups the ante to protect its crew from COVID-19 as the virus continues to infect ships and passengers around the world, even while they are still at sea.

The Samoa Shipping Services (SSC), through which the Samoan sailors were recruited, said in a notice that the MSC Sorrento has given its assurance of the Samoan crews’ safety and the new policy applies to all its ships, except for MSC Magnifica which is still at sea and is yet to dock. 

With several countries shutting down their borders in response to the global pandemic, the number of staff on ships have been reduced to skeleton crew. 

Samoan sailors who have finished their contracts will be kept on the ships to ensure their safety, before being returned to Samoa when a passage is feasible. 

“We will know when to return them home, based on the safety of flight transportations especially when the New Zealand airports are cleared and reopened,” the SSS notice states.

“S.S.S is continuing its collaboration with MSC Sorrento to secure the safety of the sailors on board as well as our daily check-ups on the cruise ships and cargo ships to make sure the sailors are safe on the ships.”

Titi Mika, a Samoan sailor working on the MSC Meraviglia, said that Samoan sailors on their ship are safe and sound.

He told his relatives and the families of other sailors not to worry as their safety on the ships are guaranteed.

“We believe it’s best to stay on the ships and we’re grateful for this chance as we’re being welcomed to [remain on] the ships freely,” he said.

“The current situation right now the countries [are] facing [is so] tragic [it] is actually frightening for us but we believe nothing is impossible with God and we’re upholding our prayers always.”

The sailor from Savai’i is a father of one and says he can't wait to return home to his daughter and family.

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