Filipino seafarers also work aboard ocean-going oil tankers and cargo ships as skippers, engineers, doctors, nurses, electricians, oilers, painters, cooks, waiters, and waitresses.
Thus, it is certainly disheartening to note that cruise ship operators have been sending home thousands of Pinoy seafarers due to the dreaded coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
In fact, there is now a widespread uncertainty among Filipino crew members on short-term contracts with cruise ships, according to the ACTS-OFW Coalition of Organizations.
ACTS-OFW chairman Aniceto Bertiz III, a former party-list member of the House of Representatives, said that cruise operations around the world “have virtually ground to a halt.”
The British-American cruise operator Carnival Corp. and PLC has suspended all voyages for 60 days and is sending home all its multinational crew members, who are mostly Filipinos.
More than half of the crew on Carnival’s 18 cruise ships are from the Philippines, one of the world’s major suppliers of mariners, each earning an average of US$1,400 a month.
Due to their exceptional skills, good command of the English language, honesty, loyalty and ability to easily adapt to foreign culture, Filipino mariners are in demand in the world market.
With the unsolved unemployment problems in the Philippines, the return of our seamen and other overseas Filipino workers because of the coronavirus disease is certainly “bad news.”
It’s a tragedy, according to various sectors.