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Holness to provide timeline for return of Jamaicans at sea

Published:Saturday | May 23, 2020 | 12:00 AMJIS
Sentaor Kamina Johnson Smith.

(JIS): Leader of  Government Business in the Upper House, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, says the government will be providing a time line for the return of all Jamaicans on board cruise ships. 

The update will be given by Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

Johnson Smith, who is also Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, made the disclosure while responding to questions following a statement in the senate yesterday.

The seafarers, on board cruise ships and other vessels, have been stranded at sea, due to COVID-19  travel restrictions.

Yesterday, Johnson Smith provided an update on the activities and actions of her ministry to support Jamaicans overseas affected by the closure of the country’s borders. 

Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas, with 1,044 Jamaican crew on board, docked at the Falmouth cruise ship pier in Trelawny on Tuesday with the first 200 workers disembarking the vessel on Thursday.

“The Government is working on scheduling the repatriation of the remaining seafarers out there and again, this is across nine ship lines and I would say easily, more than 115 ships, some of which are being consolidated even as we speak,” Johnson Smith said.

Ship workers, who test positive for COVID-19 are to be placed in state quarantine, while those who test negative will be allowed to self-quarantine at home for 14 days. Persons in home quarantine will have their location tracked and must do video check-ins multiple times a day.

Johnson Smith said the government is committed to bringing all nationals home in a safe manner to protect the safety and health of the entire population and maintained that the state has never refused the entry of any vessel.

“We have never refused any ship, let me state that for the record. We have not taken any action, which is in breach of the international maritime  labour convention and this is in fact one of the issues, which we raised with the shipping lines, even as we express our appreciation for their adherence to the convention, by taking due care of our nationals while they have ceased to operate and ensuring that they are returned to their home port, as required under the convention,” she noted.

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