As cruise ships remain stranded at sea for nearly two months, there has been a reported spate of non-coronavirus-related crew member deaths aboard these liners.
In the last 11 days, four cruise ship employees aboard Carnival Cruise-owned and Royal Caribbean vessels have died. These workers were among the more than 70,000 currently aboard 100 ships stranded in U.S. waters since the no-sail order was first instituted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on March 13, and then extended in April, the Coast Guard confirmed to AFP.
According to the report, the first confirmed death of the four was a crew member who died after falling overboard Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas ship. Royal Caribbean confirmed the loss to Fox News, stating that it is currently “assisting authorities with their investigation.”
A second death occurred on a Royal Caribbean ship, the Mariner of the Seas, the liner confirmed to Fox News. Royal Caribbean stated that the death was “apparently of natural causes.”
“Our team has reached out to his family to offer support. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and his coworkers,” the statement read.
Aboard Carnival Cruise’s Carnival Breeze ship, there was a death of a male team member on Saturday, the liner confirmed to Fox News. Though the cruise liner would not share additional details surrounding the death, a report from CBS claims the man died of an apparent suicide.
“Sadly, we can confirm the death of a male team member who was on guest status on Carnival Breeze’s repatriation sailing to Europe. His death is not related to COVID-19, but out of respect for his family, we will not be providing additional details,” the statement to Fox News read.
On Sunday, there was another alleged suicide of a 39-year-old Ukrainian citizen crew member aboard a Regal Princess ship, the liner confirmed to Fox News. The woman “jumped overboard and did not survive the impact,” the liner shared in a statement.
“The ship fully cooperated with and facilitated an investigation led by the state police with the Department of the Port of Rotterdam. Regal Princess was in Rotterdam on May 9, disembarking crew members as part of the global repatriation operation currently underway,” the statement read. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the crew member. We activated our Princess Crew Care Team to assist to family during this difficult time.”
The Carnival Breeze is currently en route to part of Europe in an effort to repatriate team members that have been at sea since the COVID-19 crisis hit. Though passengers have been able to disembark, crew members have to meet more specific guidelines, as per the CDC, regarding repatriating, such as providing non-commercial transportation by the cruise ship operator for all crew members via industry-chartered private transport, flights or personal vehicles to each employee’s respective home or quarantine location.
Previously, 14 crew members aboard the Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas had been on a hunger strike, protesting being stranded on the ship. However, a spokesperson for Royal Caribbean told Fox News the hunger strike has since ended, and the cruise liner is in constant contact with its members on board.