Malaysia Bagus News
Malaysia Bagus News
GEORGE TOWN - It is a career that allows them to travel all over the world but after more than a month working on a cruise ship, all these two Malaysians wish for is to go home and see their families.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the two Malaysians along with other crew members have been holed up on board MS Amadea Phoenix Reisen after the vessel could not find a port that will allow it to dock.
According to crew member Izwan Hilmy, despite the global pandemic, the vessel left San Francisco on March 2 for its World Cruise tour programme.
"When we reached Corinto in Nicaragua (Central America) on March 15, things got messy. We were not allowed to disembark and were asked to stay on board.
"The port only allowed us to load supplies such as food and medicine and no one was allowed to step ashore, " he said.
The 39-year-old Penangnite said things took a turn for the worse when the ship reached Panama for refuelling. It was not even allowed to dock at the port.
He said the cruise ship was only allowed to edge close for refuelling before entering the Panama Canal.
"Prior to arriving at Panama, our vessel was to dock at several ports in the United States for supplies but was rejected, " he said.
Izwan said the vessel tried to dock in Mexico for supplies but was told by the Mexicans that they could not do so as there were several Covid-19 cases in the nearby area.
The cruise ship's tour was supposed to end in Miami last Friday. Instead, the ship had no choice but to sail to its port of registry in Bremerhaven, Bremen, Germany.
The ship safely crossed the Atlantic Ocean and reached Bremerhaven but only the passengers were allowed to disembark. The crew remained on board.
Izwan said despite the virus outbreak, life went on as usual for the passengers and crew.
He said most of the passengers were Germans, and they seemed relaxed despite news of the pandemic.
"None of us has tested positive for the virus so far, and the doctors on board conduct daily tests on each passenger and crew, " he said.
There were about 450 passengers and 200 crew members on board the cruise ship. It is 192m long and features two royal suites, 40 suites and 254 cabins.
Izwan said among the problems they faced was a lack of food and rough seas.
At times, he said, the sea was so violent that even crew members had to take seasickness pills.
He said normally, the ship would only sail for three days.
Izwan, who joined the company last December, said he dearly wanted to go home to his family in Kepala Batas, Penang.
"I hope things will get better and I can go home to my family, " he said, adding that the ship's crew had been able to stay positive so far.
The second Malaysian on board, Rizal Baseri, said it was the longest time he had ever been at sea in his five years as a cruise ship crew member.
"My longest time at sea before this was just nine days, from Europe to Egypt. I am not sure what will happen to us. We will have a meeting with the captain later and see what we can do, " he said.
The 29-year-old, who lives in Puchong, Selangor, said he felt lucky that nobody on board had shown any Covid-19 symptoms during their month at sea.
State Welfare and Caring Society Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said he hoped they could return safely soon but stressed that those returning from overseas must be quarantined for 14 days first before being allowed to go home.
On Tuesday, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said any Malaysian who returned to the country would be immediately quarantined for 14 days.
He said the ruling would take effect tomorrow and the government was making the necessary preparations.