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Families protest for sailors to be brought home

The families of some Samoan sailors who are currently stranded abroad, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic, staged a peaceful protest in front of Government Building on Monday to plea for their return.

The families are appealing to the Government to bring their family members back to Samoa with nine protesters braving the midday sun to bring their message across to Samoa’s leaders.

They carried placards displaying messages such as “Help bring our fathers and sons home, Return home our brothers, sons and fathers, Samoan sailors, Samoa Government please bring our sons brothers home. Faavae I le Alua Samoa (Samoa is founded on God).”

A placard carried by an elderly man had the Samoan words: “Samoa lo’u atunu’u O fea le alofa? (please don’t forget us where is the love).

Samoa Shipping Services General Manager, Lautimuia Afoa Vaai, confirmed that three Samoan sailors working abroad tested positive for COVID-19 but have all recovered.

Last weekend, the Samoa Observer visited a family of one of the stranded sailors at Nofoalii.

The mother of five, Vaifou Tulia, said since the COVID-19 pandemic there has been very little help from the Government to repatriate Samoan sons being kept at sea. 

Her husband Falepau Niu Tulia of Nofoali’i and Vaipua is among Samoan sailors working on the cruise ship MSC Armonia currently in anchorage in the Bahamas.

She urged the Government to use funding from donor organisations for COVID-19 to bring back the sailors. 

“We are fasting everyday for our relatives at sea and our only plea to the Government is please don’t forget about our loved ones out there,” said the mother from Nofoali’i. 

“I hear about the funds from overseas for COVID-19 and we hope that the Government can spare some of those funds to pay for a charter flight or even a vessel to get the sailors here.  

Mrs. Tulia continually chats with her husband together with her children using messenger.

She alleges that her husband claimed there are several Samoan sailors that are infected with the coronavirus. This has brought fear on the mother and many other relatives of the sailors that are unable to return home due to a global closure on borders. 

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