WHY CAN’T WE GO HOME? Crew members in Puerto Vallarta Asks the Mexican Government for Permission to Return Home

May 20, 2020

There are still more than 1200 crew members trapped onboard the Holland America Line cruise ship ms Koningsdam, who comply 2 and a half months of not touching land and they wish to be repatriated to their countries to see their families. The ship is currently anchored in front of Puerto Vallarta, inside the bay, and it is visible from land. 

Two days ago, Vallarta Opina got in touch with one member of the crew on board, who originally worked as a part of the crew of the Seabourn, but she was transferred to the Koningsdam, like other 6 more cruises’ crew.

The crew comes from more than 70 countries. Just on Friday 20 Mexicans were disembarked, but the Mexican government still hasn’t made a decision about the rest of the occupants of the ship. 

Today, another member of the crew got in touch with Vallarta Opina, reiterating the crew’s call for humanitarian sentiment, as all of them want to return and see their families again after so long. 

He pointed out that the Grand Princess set sail in the morning from Puerto Vallarta to Panamá, having low fuel, barely enough to complete a trip to the Atlantic. Joana Abreu, the first crew member to contact Vallarta Opina, confirmed this fact and claimed that the mayority of the crew from the other cruise was transferred to Koningsdam. 

The second crew member, who asked not to reveal his name, pointed out that in the case of some, they even have 10 months in high seas as they were already in service when the pandemic broke out. The majority comply 2 and a half months without touching land. 

“It is very difficult for us, and great pressure because we don’t know our destiny, we don’t what is going to happen tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow. We now have 4 suicides in Carnival Corp. People are breaking. Imagine having a situation at home, someone close to you passes away and you cannot be there to support your family nor be there to be part of the recovery process. That is something that can happen while we are stuck here”, said the foreign crew member to Vallarta Opina. 

He specifically refers to the 4 deaths suspected of suicide reported in the last week, in cruises around the world with situations of isolation and similar uncertainties to the Koningsdam.

Even, the crew member, a man, mentioned that his country of origin has authorized their repatriation as well as the shipping company offered to buy their airplane tickets, only missing the Mexican government’s authorization to go ahead with the operation.

“Then you ask yourself: ‘well, it’s fine, why can’t I go home?’ My government has authorized my landing at the airport, the company (Carnival Corp) has said that they bought airplane tickets for us. So? I see airplanes take off very often, but for some reason, we are still here, without any apparent reason. We are all healthy”, he narrated.

[18/5 4:39 p. m.] Prima Sofia: The man also said that, even after all this time in high seas, although it is superior to the regulatory quarantine period, they all get their temperature checked twice a day and none of them have had any flu symptoms, much less than COVID-19.

To this moment, the Mexican government, through the federal instances like the Communications and Transport Secretariat, the Port Captaincy and the Health Secretariat, have not expressed a position on the matter about letting the foreigners descend or not, although it has unofficially transcended that they maintain negotiations with the shipping company for this purpose.

Source and photos: Vallarta Opina