UK's government is discussing to repatriate ~4000 foreign crew stuck on 5 cruise liners anchored close to Port Southampton England as Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions hamper their return. The onboard conditions are causing particular concern because some of the staff-crew on the P&O Cruises’ ship Azura tested positive for the virus.
700+ passengers on Princess Cruises’ ship Diamond Princess tested positive for COVID-19 in February and March, 12 died. There have been stand-offs between cruise shipping companies and governments in the USA-Florida and Australia over whether vessels with infected people should be allowed docking.
The crew on the cruise vessels at Southampton are mostly Indian nationals who can't travel home due to the extreme rules in India.
The Florida-based Carnival Corporation (world's largest cruise shipowner) revealed between 800-1000 crew are currently on each of the 4 liners moored in Southampton - Azura, Britannia, Ventura, and Queen Victoria. TUI Group's Marella Celebration with 550 crew also anchored close to Southampton. Cunard Line’s RMS Queen Mary 2 is also planned to dock here in mid-April, arriving from Australia. All these ships are temporarily taken out of service due to the risk of Coronavirus outbreaks among crew and passengers.
Carnival said it had developed a repatriation plan and had already sent home crew who were able to travel and did not have critical roles onboard the vessels. The company added that last week it had tested some of Azura's crew and some tests returned positive. Carnival had written to the last passengers to disembark in Barbados on March 20-21 to warn them about the results.
TUI Cruises said it was “working hard” in order to repatriate the remaining crew from Marella Celebration and there were no COVID-19 cases onboard.
Both companies indicated that all the crew had been moved out of the crew cabins and isolated in passenger staterooms, to reduce the risk of spreading the infection. Carnival said crew who didn't have critical duties on its ships were not working.
For Coronavirus updates on cruise ship quarantines (infected passengers and crew) and top-pandemic countries (COVID-19 cases and deaths, daily updated statistics) see at CruiseMapper's Norovirus page.