A Filipino crew member died on the Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady, according to several crew members who wish to remain anonymous. His colleagues on the ship stated that he may have intentionaly ended his life.
The cruise ship sailed into the port of Miami earlier this afternoon following this tragedy. @PTZtv live streaming cameras showed the Scarlet Lady arriving at the port shortly after noon today. The ship had been positioned off of the coast of Florida after Virgin decided to postpone its inaugural cruise of this ship from Miami until mid-October. Police detectives reportedly boarded the ship to conduct an investigation.
The crew members described the Filipino seafarer’s job as a hotel utility employee. His body was reportedly found in his cabin. It is less than clear regarding when this incident occurred. Earlier this morning, a person Twitter posted the following tweet to Richard Branson, the CEO of the cruise line:
@richardbranson shame on you! Get you forgotten staff off your cruise ship now! One suicide how many more!
— vintageinfrance (@vintageinfrance) May 22, 2020
This has been a difficult month for many crew members who have remained on cruise ships during the period of cruising suspension which is now approaching 75 days. In addition to this incident, there have been at least five other crew members who reportedly ended their lives since May 1st and one who attempted to do so. In addition, Royal Caribbean stated that one crew member reportedly died of “natural causes,” although it did not release an official cause of death.
Yesterday, we reported on a crew member on the Vasco da Gamma cruise ship who reportedly jumped from deck 12 of the ship and landed on a cargo container located on the pier of the Tilbury Docks in the U.K. It was last reported that the Cruise and Maritime Voyages (CMV) ship employee is in the hospital in London. A Filipino galley employee on the AIDAblu died two days ago. Last week, a Chinese crew member hired as an assistant waiter on the Mariner of the Seas was found dead by his colleagues. On that same day, a Ukranian waiter from the Regal Princess jumped overboard while the ship was in Rotterdam. The day before, an assistant shore excursion manager died on the Carnival Breeze which was sailing to the U.K. from Bahamian waters. Sixteen days ago we reported that a Polish electrician on the Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas jumped overboard south of Greece.
In all of these situations, crew members reported an atmosphere of isolation from their familes and confusion on the ships regarding when and how the crew members will be repatriated home. Many crew members also express feelings of frustration and depression.
The Scarlet Lady initially was scheduled to sail its first voyage with passengers from Miami in March but postponed its inaugural cruise until August 7th due the coronavirus pandemic. Virgin recently cancelled all cruises on the Scarlet Lady through mid-October.
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May 24 Update: The Miami Herald today reported on the death in an article titled Virgin Voyages crew member dies on ship, Coast Guard says. Another in cruise industry deaths. “The crew member, a 32-year-old Filipino man, died from ‘apparent self-harm’ aboard Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady, the Coast Guard said.”
Photograph credit: Anonymous crew member