A crew member employed on the Mariner of the Seas was found dead earlier today by his colleagues. He is the third crew member to have died in just the last two days, and the fourth ship employee to have died in a little over a week.

The crew member is a Chinese national according to several crew members who wish to remain annymous. His fist name is “Wenji.” He apparently is a new hire and worked as an assistant waiter. It is less than clear why he was still aboard the Royal Caribbean cruise ship at this late date, almost two months after crusing was suspended.

There is a debate affecting crew members whether the delay in repatriating crew members is due to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the cruise lines in refusing to sign acknowledgents that they will comply with the CDC guidelines, or a combination of the both.

The Miami Herald published an article ten days ago that Royal Caribbean has been lying to its crew members for the past month by claiming that it is the fault of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that crew members are stuck at sea.

The Herald first published an article stating that cruise lines refuse to acknowledge CDC terms to repatriate crew, calling transportation  via air charters to be “‘too expensive.” Later, the Miami Herald explained why crew members were being kept at sea. In an article, titled Royal Caribbean falsely blames CDC for keeping crew trapped on its ships, agency says,  the Miami Herald stated that the actual reason was that the CEO’s refused to sign an acknowledgement that the company will comply with the CDC guidelines. Fearing potential criminal liability, the company decided against having its  CEO’s or the chief compliance officers and chief medical officers sign the acknowledgement. The Miami Herald reported that “in an about face,” Royal Caribbean’s Michael Bayley and Celebrity Cruises’ Lisa Lutoff-Perlo announced they would sign the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s terms for disembarking crew.

Unfortunately, it appears that notwithstanding comments to the Miami Herald, Royal Caribbean is still refusing to sign the CDC acknowledgement.

A crew member who contacted me from a Royal Caribbean ship said: “it’s the saddest thing that endless waiting is taking the lifes of innocent and hard working crew members.”

This death comes on the heels of the death today of a crew member from the Regal Princess. Yesterday, an assistant shore excursion manager died on the Carnival Breeze which is sailing to the U.S. from Bahamian waters. Eight days ago we reported that a Polish electrician on the Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas went overboard south of Greece.

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Photo credit: Gregory Varnum – CC BY-SA 4.0, commons / wikimedia.