The Seafarers Union of Russia was advised about difficult and unsafe working conditions on board the Diamond Princess (IMO 9228198, UK flag) quarantined in the Japanese port of Yokohama in connection with the detection due to coronavirus infection. To protect the health of seafarers, to prevent the further spread of the disease and to draw the attention of the shipping company to the problems of not only passengers but also crew members, the SUR and the ITF applied to the International Labor Organization.
«Firstly, in connection with what is happening on board, the operating mode of the staff has changed significantly, said YuriySukhorukov,the chairman of the SUR. The workload has increased significantly due to the fact that passengers are asked to exclude contacts between themselves so the crew is forced to deliver three meals a day directly to the passenger cabins. However, the company did not plan any additional payment for this. But this is not the most important thing asit is much more dangerous that instead of treatment whichit is limited to paracetamol, the staff is forced to work even if they feel unwell and have a low temperature. Butcoronavirus scan is not carried out».
The ship’s medical personnel do not have time to consider crew complaints, and the distribution ofpersonal protective equipment is poorly organized. Moreover, Japanese military doctors on board the vessel deal exclusively with passengers, although, according to media reports,during the inspection conducted on the first day of quarantine an infected person was also found among the vessel’s employees. This poses a danger not only to crewmembers but also to passengers, among whom are Russians. If crew members are infected or insufficiently protected, they can become the source of virus replication.
.In response to submission from the SUR and the ITF regarding the difficult situation on board, the ILO contacted the Japanese Foreign Ministry, where the ship is located, and the UK authorities, whose flag the vessel flies. In its letters the organization called on the governments of the two countries to make sure that seafarers on board the Diamond Princess in need of medical care will be examined by a qualified doctor, receive the flu vaccine and all necessary protective equipment in the right amount in accordance with the recommendations of the International Marine Health Association (IMHA), including face masks and alcohol-based hand antiseptics.
As a result of requests from the SUR and ITF the shipping company PRINCESS CRUISE LINES LTD met the needs of the crewmembers by promising that after quarantine is releasedthe crew would be given two months of paid leave. The vacation will be paid even if a crewmember decides to return to work before the expiration of a two-month period. The ILO has promised to inform the SUR about actions the authorities of Great Britain and Japan are taking in regard to health maintenance of seafarers.
P.S. At the time of publication TASS news agency informed that the Russian woman on board the Diamond Princess contracted the coronavirus and shewillbehospitalize.This information was confirmed by the Russian Embassy.