Trinidadian nationals aboard the Enchantment of the Seas will be eagerly awaiting word from the Ministry of Health on whether they will be able to disembark and go home to their families tomorrow.
This after it was confirmed that one more of their compatriots had tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday, following testing on 295 of them on Thursday.
This brought to seven the number of cruise ship workers from the vessel who tested positive for the virus. Six workers tested positive soon after the vessel arrived with over 300 nationals on June 14 and they were sent to the Caura Hospital for treatment. The rest of the workers have been quarantined on the ship in the Gulf of Paria since then.
The latest COVID case took T&T’s tally to 124 cases, with the majority of them being imported cases.
One national aboard the ship yesterday told Guardian Media they had not been informed of the latest positive test. The national, who did not want to be identified, said they have all been packing to leave the ship tomorrow (Sunday), having reached the end of their quarantine period.
However, according to the ministry’s protocol, once a member of a group in quarantine tests positive for the virus, the other members of the group are supposed to start a fresh quarantine period.
Told of this last evening, the crew member became anxious, saying they had not been given any information regarding further quarantine by the ship’s personnel. However, she noted that yesterday afternoon the ship’s personnel announced that once their PCR results were negative they would be allowed to disembark the ship and go home.
Meanwhile, Seamen and Waterfront Workers’ Trade Union president Michael Annisette yesterday insisted that port workers should not be blamed for the delay in testing for the crew members on board.
Protest action by the port workers forced the initial testing of the workers to be rescheduled from Tuesday to Thursday as the vessel could not dock at the Cruise Ship Complex on Tuesday.
Despite receiving a letter from the Port Authority of T&T management yesterday suggesting that workers have been in breach of the Industrial Act during their ongoing protest action, Annisette denied this is the case.
“As I speak to you, three things would have happened, I received a letter, a threatening letter from the Port Authority, about the union breached the industrial act. (That) the workers are taking illegal industrial action,” Annisette said in a phone interview.
“We are available for any discussions and we haven’t done anything to coerce or force the Port Authority and we categorically deny doing any such things.”
He said despite the protest action, which has been ongoing for the week, the authority had not approached the union to conduct any discussion.
“We have not got an intimation or indication that there is a willingness to meet with the union, notwithstanding the port still have several vessels outside there and would have lost revenue over the week,” Annisette said.
The protest action conducted by the port workers also led to the delay of sailings along the sea bridge on Tuesday and the cancellation of sailings between the islands on Wednesday. The protest action continued yesterday despite the letter sent to the SWWTU.