In Memoriam: Cruise Ship Crew Members Lost in COVID-19 Pandemic

Apr 07, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across the world, our fellow crew members, our sisters, brothers, and friends on the cruise ships are among the casualties. It is important to remember those who we lost because of the COVID-19 and keep them in our memories. We constantly receive information on how many of our fellow crew members are infected as well as the ones who lost their lives, but behind the numbers are individuals - parents and spouses, friends and colleagues, whose lives deserve to be mentioned.

Oasis of the Seas – crew member

Carlos Baluran, Royal Caribbean crew member from the Philippines passed away on May 3, in a hospital in Broward County, Florida after testing positive for Covid-19. Mr. Baluran worked the night shift in the incinerator room on the cruise ship Oasis of the Seas.  Our hearts and prayers go out to his family, friends and colleagues, including his two brothers, who also work for the Royal Caribbean family.

Costa Fascionsa - crew member

Rudy Haryanto - Assistant Housekeeping Manager from Indonesia has died in a hospital in Santos after testing positive for Covid-19. A good heart has stopped beating...a good soul ascended to heaven. Our Assistant Housekeeping Manager. A mentor. True Friend. True Kindness. True Inspiration and True Love. We... your housekeeping family will miss your smiles. Rest in Peace Sir.

Costa Fascionsa - crew member

Bendie Antonio, a Filipino crew member of Costa Cruises passed away on April 19, in a hospital in Santos, Brazil. Bendie was taken off the cruise ship Costa Fascinosa and transferred to a hospital together with nine of his fellow crew members who tested positive for the virus. He died from complications caused by the coronavirus, thousands of miles away from his family in the Philippines.

MS Artania – crew member

Rex Pagaran, age 42, from the Philippines died in a hospital in Pert Australia, after testing positive for coronavirus. Rex was taken off the cruise ship MS Artania operator Phoenix Reisen several days ago when he was symptomatic for the virus. MS Artania captain Morten Hansen expressed his sadness at the passing of his crew member saying"It's always heartbreaking, he was a Filipino member who has been with the company since 2006,"

Rex Pagaran leaves behind his wife and two young children. May his soul rest in peace.

Oasis of the Seas – crew member

Oasis of the Seas crew member Iputu Sugiartha, age 41, from Badung Bali, Indonesia, passed away on April 20, in Broward County Hospital after testing positive for COVID-19. Iputu was a long term Royal Caribbean employee, working in the Dining Room department as a waiter. He leaves behind his wife, daughter and a young son. Rest in Peace Iputu Prayers to your family, friends, and colleagues. All of us will miss you dearly.

Oasis of the Seas – crew member

Oasis of the Seas bartender, Dexter Joyosa from the Philippines died at Broward County Hospital on April 18, after testing positive for coronavirus. Dexter was a long time Royal Caribbean employee, staring his career in 2012. His friends say Dexter’s birthday was one day after he died.

Pullmantur Monarch - crew member

A fellow crew member Rigoberto from Honduras died in a hospital in Panama City on April 17. After developing breathing problems he was medically evacuated from the cruise ship Pullmantur Monarch and transfer to a hospital where he tested positive for COVID-19.

“We are saddened to announce the death of Rigoberto and we stay with the best memories of how he attended his passengers, with his charisma and smile” said one of his friends.

“Rigoberto brother, mate, friend may you rest in peace, may the Lord receive you with open arms. it is hard to say goodbye, may God give peace to your family. Now you are already in heaven. The sea is missing you.”

Greg Mortimer - crew member

Ronnie Ibabao Lorenzo, age 52, from the Philipines died on April 18 in Uruguay after testing positive for the Coronavirus. Ronnie was Engine Storekeeper of the expedition cruise ship Greg Mortimer. One of his colleagues onboard Greg Mortimer said “It is unbelievable that asymptomatic patient just at 1 time have respiratory problems and then gone, RIP Ronny”

 Costa Fascinosa - Doctor

Doctor Paolo Mudano, age 69, from Genoa, Italy died on April 15, in a hospital in Santos, Brazil. He was the first cruise ship frontline healthcare worker to die after testing positive for COVID-19. Doctor Mudano was medically evacuated from the cruise ship Costa Fascinosa on April 5, after presenting severe respiratory symptoms. He was immediately transferred by an ambulance to a hospital in Santos where he was diagnosed with viral pneumonia. The next day, he had to be sent to the intensive care unit and placed on mechanical ventilation.

Symphony of the Seas - Crew Member

Puyol Vacgez Gavenliy Tarayici, loft attendant from Indonesia, age 27, died in a hospital in Florida on April 12, after testing positive for COVID-19. Puyol was medically evacuated to Broward Hospital in March from the cruise ship Symphony of the Seas. Royal Caribbean crew observed a moment of silence after the announcement was made about the tragic death of their fellow crew member. Pujiyoko is the youngest cruise ship crew member to die from COVID-19. He Joined the Royal Caribbean Housekeeping department in 2016 to help his family.

Pullmantur Cruises crew member

Arthur Gimena Ballares, Pastry Chef from the Philippines passed away. His friend and colleagues shared the sad news and paid their respect. Here is the final farewell by one of Arthur’s friends:

“My tribute to a dear friend and Chef who passed away today victim of this terrible pandemic and we had the opportunity to meet on board the cruise ships and worked together for many years, Arthur Ballares, # 1 fan in my posts, always giving me good advice. Thank you, friend. Keep sailing, now in the seas never sailed before, in the sea of the Glory of God!

My condolences to the Ballares family in the Philippines. Rest in peace!”

Ms Zaandam crew member

Wiwit Widarto housekeeping petty officer (supervision rank/PMC) from Indonesia, age 50, died in a hospital in Florida after testing positive for COVID-19, officials said. Broward County Medical Examiner confirmed the death of Wiwit Widarto, a crew member of the Holland America Line cruise ship Ms Zaandam. Wiwit died on Wednesday, April 8, just six days after the cruise ship docked in Fort Lauderdale.

Coast Luminosa crew member

"We are all sad as we received the news that Mr.Orlando Hernandez our Kitchen Steward, passed away at Rizal Medical Center in Manila due to COVID_19 complications.

Our colleague disembarked some weeks ago from Coast Luminosa.

We are sure to share everybody feeling to express our deepest condolences to his family, his loved ones and all his colleagues" a letter signed by Neil Palomba, President Costa Cruises reads in part.

Grand Princess Officer

A Filipino Officer working in the Electrical Department on the cruise ship Grand Princess died at a San Francisco hospital after being transferred off the ship last month. Princess Cruises said they are deeply saddened by the death of one of their team members on Grand Princess who passed away from complications related to COVID-19.

MSC Opera crew member

MSC Opera crew member from Honduras died in a hospital in Genoa where he was hospitalized after he tested positive for COVI-19. The ship docked in the Ligurian port with only 166 crew members on board, and was declared "contaminated" after four other seafarers had also tested positive for the virus.

MSC Opera crew member Roberto Rodriguez Velasco

A crew member has sent us a message informing us about the passing of the MSC crew member Roberto Rodriguez Velasco from El Salvador. According to the message Roberto died after disembarking from the cruise ship. Roberto was working in the Galley Department, this was his first contract for MSC Cruises.

Costa Favolosa security officer Andrew Fernandes

crew member dies on cruise ship

Costa Favolosa security officer Andrew Fernandes, age 48, from Mumbai, India, died at the Larkin Community Palm Spring Hospital in Florida. On Sunday, March 29, Andrew was transferred from the cruise ship Costa Favolosa which was anchored off the coast of Miami and sent to a hospital. 

His wife Maria and her four children have been hoping for a miracle ever since Andrew, tested positive for COVID-19. His condition worsened and the doctors had to sedate him and put him on ventilator support.

Marella Dream crew member

A 48-year-old Indonesian crew member of the cruise ship Marella Dream has died on Friday, March 27, while the vessel was off the coast of Gibraltar. The ship’s captain in coordination with the port authorities requested evacuation, sadly his condition worsened overnight and 3 hours before the planned medical evacuation he passed away aboard the cruise ship. The daily newspaper Gibraltar Chronicle, reports that the crew member had displayed symptoms consistent with COVID-19, but was not tested for the virus.

Marella Explorer 2 crew member

The crew of the cruise ship Marella Explorer 2 informed us that a Filipino crew member died yesterday morning aboard the ship. The crew member was working as a waiter aboard the Marella Explorer 2.

Marella Explorer 2 - Financial officer

A 46-year-old Greek financial officer has passed away in a hospital in Mexico after testing positive for the virus, thousands of miles away from his home, from his family. Many of his friends and colleagues expressed deepest condolences saying Dimitrios Miltiadis Koumargias was the sweetest and caring person, with a true pure soul.

His good friend and long-time colleague Yiovana Athanasiou wrote this beautiful farewell letter:

“For days now, in the situation we live in, it makes me very sad and I am concerned about the situation with the sailors. Thousands of people trapped commercial and cruise ships, not to know where to take them, the ports are closing, friends who make crews stressed not to know how to send them home, in manila hotels full can't accept any more returnees for 14 Day Quarantine, on the coast of Florida the ships are around, with cases or without, those inside can't get out, those who are out and their money ends can't get in.

Last night I learned about Dimitris... Dimitris was a sailor, colleague, financial officer, we had traveled for years together, a wonderful person, kind, very nice boy, with the smile, I remember in accounting the way he walked in and said " What's up buddy?". A healthy man, 46 years old now, didn't smoke he didn't drink... what a tragic.. to leave his last breath in a hospital in Mexico from compilations caused by the coronavirus... alone, away from the His family. No one deserves such death. Let us pray today for Dimitris, may God rest his soul, give courage and strength to his family. And let us pray for the thousands of people who away from their homeland wherever they are, give their own struggle for survival. The world is smaller than we think. And death closer than ever... good paradise Dimitris.”

If you are aware of additional crew members we should include on this list, we invite you to share their stories with us using this form or send us a message on Facebook.

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