ITF has condemned the flag state for inability to protect health of the crew and passengers within current circumstances caused by coronavirus, because cruise vessels are trying to find a port where they would be able to get alongside.
The union states that this problem has become quite obvious since the cruise vessels haven’t been granted free practice in any of the ports of call due to special measures implemented by various states in order to prevent further spread of coronavirus.
According to the latest data, the vessel Braemar felt the seriousness of the situation with coronavirus, being rejected by some ports and having to look for some place to get berthed until passengers and crew get permission from Cuban authorities to disembark.
There is approved information that four planes are going to take all the passengers from Cuba back to Great Britain.
In case there are any passengers who already have such a disease or just slight symptoms, will be taken back home with their accompanies by a special plane.
These passengers will have a possibility to get medical assistance and informational support about their further travelling on board of a plane. After arriving at home, they will have to stay there in isolation for two weeks more.
According to the provided data, 28 people with symptoms of influenza are isolated at the moment. Among them, there are 2 people with positive coronavirus test.
Twenty seven crew members, inclusive of one doctor, have already been isolated.
At the same time, International Transport Workers’ Federation states that these flights will be available only for passengers from Great Britain and the situation with representatives of other countries still remains unknown.
Moreover, there is information that more than one hundred medical representatives from Australia are staying on board of a vessel near the coast of Chile, since the country prohibited the vessels to enter its port in terms of coronavirus situation.
It should be taken into account that it is fault of the Bahamas and Bermuda that they are not able to handle this problem with reference to their own vessels.
The US and the government of Cuba are trying to provide comprehensive assistance for the passengers from the cruise ships as opposed to their flag state authorities.
According to the international regulations, the flag state holds responsibility for the safety and health of its seafarers and passengers.
Flag states have authority over their own vessels however it doesn’t refer to the vessels which were affected by coronavirus. Port states and governments of the passengers undertake responsibility for this situation. For example, the Braemar wasn’t allowed to get alongside within its territory, and had to proceed to Cuba where they got permission for disembarking passengers and members of the crew.
This is just an unacceptable and outrageous situation. Such a system as a flag of convenience should be reviewed for defaults. It is inadmissible that the flag states aren’t able to provide precautionary measures and that they don’t take responsibility for protection of their workers and combat the spread of the virus.
The International Transport Workers’ Federation and other maritime agencies insist that the flag states must hold responsibility for the health of the seafarers and passengers from their vessels.