Sun | Jul 12, 2020

Some cruise-ship workers could go home tomorrow

Published:Saturday | May 23, 2020 | 12:06 AMAdrian Frater/News Editor

WESTERN BUREAU:

Some of the 200 crew ship workers who disembarked the Adventure of the Seas cruise ship at the Falmouth Pier in Trelawny could reunite with their families as early as Sunday.

After watching the first group of 40 ship workers completing their immigration proceedings and having samples taken to determine their COVID-19 status, State Minister Matthew Samuda told The Gleaner that things were progressing smoother than anticipated. Some of the workers could be home in 72 hours, Samuda said.

“We are expecting to do the first set of releases this Sunday morning … . If we get it (the results), we will go a little earlier. If we get it later, we will go a little later,” said Samuda.

In explaining the disembarkation of ship workers, which started at 8 a.m., Samuda said that they were taken off in small groups in compliance with best-practice protocols.

“We are trying to take the workers off the ship in tranches of 40, with subgroups of 20, so that we will be able to group people in case of infections,” said Samuda, noting that the exercise might be completed within five days.

IN HIGH SPIRITS

Samuda said that the quarantined crew members appeared to be in high spirits.

“They look happy to be home … . If you have ever been on a flight coming home, it is the same reaction that prevails. People are always happy when they come home to ‘The Rock’,” Samuda said.

For crew member Verol ‘Bird’ Reid, who lives just six miles away from the Falmouth Pier in the Bounty Hall community, it was a case of oh so close to home. However, he is confident that he is COVID-19 free and expects to be released from government quarantine once his test results have been returned.

“I have not had any symptoms, and I feel okay, so I am confident that my result will be good,” the former William Knibb High School student told The Gleaner by telephone from his cabin on the ship.

“Being on the seas for such a long time and not knowing when you are going to get home is not an easy feeling … but I am feeling better now.

Ship workers who test negative for COVID-19 and are released will still not be free to reintegrate into the local population as they will be required to undergo a period of home quarantine.

Tremaine James, who was outside the pier on Thursday with his four-year-old twin sons, Lebron and London, hoped to catch a glimpse of their mother, who is one of the more than 1,000 cruise ship workers on the vessel.

“We talk to her every day, and she says based on her daily testing on the ship, she is COVID-19 free, so we believe it is only a matter of time before she is released,” said James, who last saw his soulmate in December 2019.