(NEW YORK POST) – Four cruise ship workers have died in the last 10 days from non-coronavirus causes as their vessels remain stranded at sea, according to a report.
With cruise-trips canceled and more than 70,000 workers marooned on ships across US waters, several workers have committed suicide, CBS News reports.
One man on Saturday died of an apparent suicide on the Carnival Breeze as it headed from the Bahamas to Europe on a trip to repatriate its crew, and the next day, a 39-year-old Ukrainian woman died after jumping from the Regal Princess outside of the Netherlands, the outlet reported.
That same Sunday a worker died of “natural causes” on the Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas, a company spokesman told CBS.
The string of deaths began on May 2, when a crew member died after falling overboard off the Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas.
The circumstances surrounded that death were not immediately clear and an investigation is ongoing, the outlet reported.
Meanwhile, 14 crew members have gone on a hunger strike after being stranded since March 13 on another Royal Caribbean vessel, the Navigator of the Seas.
“At this moment, we feel that we’re all hostages,” a crew member on the ship, which is docked in Miami, told the Miami Herald. “The company needs to understand we aren’t boxes of food that can be moved around.”
The cruise industry was hit with a no-sail order on March 13 and while passengers have disembarked, many workers have remained stuck on board in bureaucratic limbo.
There are more than 100 ships sitting in US waters carrying more than 70,000 crew members on board, the US Coast Guard confirmed to AFP last week.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has crafted specific guidelines for repatriating asymptomatic crew members. The agency says that workers must only be allowed to disembark if they can be transported by specially chartered aircraft arranged by the cruise lines or via personal vehicles.
Ryan Driscoll, a performer who has been languishing on a cruise ship for more than 60 days, told CBS that he feels like he’s trapped in a “prison.”
“The fact that they won’t let us off is extremely frustrating, irritating, especially for ships that just have crew members that have been quarantined for much longer than 14 days that have no COVID-19 cases,” Driscoll said.
“We’re just stuck here. It does feel like a prison sometimes … I want to go home. I want to see my family.”