While cruise ships may not be sailing through international waters any time soon, more than 300 Canadians are still trapped at sea during the coronavirus pandemic.
When the virus first broke out at sea, cruise companies responded by shutting down operations in mid-March. Most passengers got to go home eventually, but many of the crew members themselves had to remain on board, stuck in port and unable to disembark over fears of transmitting COVID-19 throughout the community.
The CBC has profiled the story of one Canadian crew member, who has reportedly been at sea for more than a month aboard the Norwegian Epic, along with 2,300 other shipmates that do not have permission to disembark.
Global Affairs Canada has confirmed that it is tracking 99 cruise ships that are still at sea, carrying an estimated 313 Canadian crew members.
"We can confirm that the Norwegian Epic is one of the 99 ships we are tracking," Krystyna Dodds, spokesperson, media relations, Global Affairs Canada, told PAX.
NCL has not yet commented on the matter.
"All cruise ships with Canadian passengers have now docked," Dodds added. "Global Affairs Canada continues to track cruise ships still at sea with Canadian crew on board. We encourage Canadian crew members on cruise ships who are experiencing difficulties in returning to Canada to contact the closest Canadian consulate or embassy, or Global Affairs Canada headquarters, to request consular assistance."
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