Mumbai

Kalina seafarer stranded on cruise ship dies of COVID-19 in Florida

Tragic loss: Andrew Fernandes (48) with his wife Maria (centre), sisters and two sets of twins.

Tragic loss: Andrew Fernandes (48) with his wife Maria (centre), sisters and two sets of twins.  

400 Indian crew members stuck off Miami coast since mid-March

Even as 17,000 Indian seafarers wait for a policy to be finalised for their return, a family in Kalina has lost its 48-year-old earning member, Andrew Fernandes.

Fernandes, an assistant security officer on the cruise liner, Costa Favolosa, died of COVID-19 in Miami, Florida, on April 5. He is survived by wife Maria and two sets of twins: girls studying in Class V and boys in Class I.

On March 29, Fernandes was medically disembarked, transferred through a tender boat, escorted by the Coast Guard and sent to Larkin Community Hospital in Miami. Family and friends said his condition worsened and doctors had to sedate him and put him on ventilator after he contracted pneumonia and lung infection.

“Andrew needed a transfer to Miami Jackson Hospital. However, there were no beds available at the time,” Adelaide, his sister, said. The shipping company in an email to Adelaide said they did all that was possible to assist in transferring her brother to another hospital but could not speed up the process as no beds were available due to COVID-19.

According to reports, at least 400 Indian crew members of cruise ships are stuck off the Miami coast since mid-March. Teena Menezes, wife of Vivian, a crew member of a cruise ship stranded three miles away from the Miami coast, has sent an email to the Ministry of External Affairs seeking help. The ship is owned by the Switzerland-registered MSC Cruises. “Due to the ship being stuck in the middle of the seas for so many days, the crew members are getting frustrated,” she said. “There have been incidents where three crew members tried committing suicide,” Ms. Menezes said in her mail.

The Hindu had reported on Tuesday that according to shipping ministry officials, Indian seafarers would be allowed to return home only after the ban on flights is lifted and the Indian government finalises a repatriation policy.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 2:43:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/kalina-seafarer-stranded-on-cruise-ship-dies-of-covid-19-in-florida/article31304108.ece

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