Even as 17,000 Indian seafarers wait for a policy to be finalised for their return , a Mumbai family has lost a 48-year-old earning member, Andrew Fernandes.
A Kalina resident, Mr. Fernandes, working as an assistant security officer on cruise liner Costa Favolosa, died of coronavirus ( COVID-19 ) in Miami, Florida on April 5. He is survived by wife Maria and two sets of twins, boys studying in classes I and girls in class V.
On March 29, Mr. Fernandes was medically disembarked and transferred through a tender boat to Larkin Community Hospital in Miami, Florida.
Mr. Fernandes’s family and friends said his condition worsened and the doctors had to sedate him and put him on ventilator support after he contracted pneumonia and lung infection.
“Andrew needed a transfer to Miami Jackson hospital, however, there were no beds available at the time,” his sister Adelaide said.
The shipping company in an email to Ms. Adelaide said they did all that was possible to assist in transferring her brother to another hospital but could not accelerate the process as there were no beds available due to COVID-19.
Reports said that at least 400 Indians, all of them crew members of cruise ships, are stuck off the Miami coast in the U.S. since mid-March, unable to get back home.
Seeks MEA help
Teena Menezes, wife of another sailor, also stranded on a ship in Miami, has shot off an email to the Ministry of External Affairs seeking help.
“Due to the ship being stuck in the middle of the seas for so many days, the crew members are getting frustrated,” she said in her mail.
Her husband Vivian Menezes is part of the crew of a cruise ship that is stranded about three miles away from the Miami coast. The ship is owned by Switzerland-registered MSC Cruises.
“There have been incidents where three of the 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 around the world would be allowed to return to the country after the ban on flights is lifted and the Government of India finalises a policy on repatriation of Indians.