Cruise Ship in New Jersey Tests for Coronavirus
The threat of coronavirus came closer to home recently when a Royal Caribbean cruise ship docked in Bayonne, New Jersey after passengers on board showed signs of illness. Passengers were evaluated and ended up testing negative for coronavirus, allowing the ship to set sail for Bermuda. This was good news for Royal Caribbean passengers, but the scare raises important questions about the safety of maritime workers on these ships.
What is Coronavirus?
While the threat of coronavirus was not realized this time, the risk to cruise ship employees and other maritime workers seems to be growing rapidly as international travelers carrying the virus spread it to others. The member of the coronavirus family that we are seeing in the news, Covid-19, comes from infected animals. Many people infected with this strain worked or shopped at the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan, China, which sells slaughtered animals for consumption. Covid-19 symptoms include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Organ failure in severe cases
Antibiotics are not helpful for treating coronavirus because it is viral. For anyone infected with Covid-19, recovery depends on the strength of their immune system. Rest, fluids, and support for breathing and organ function are the main methods of treatment. Most fatal cases involve individuals with pre-existing health problems or an already-compromised immune system.
Protecting Maritime Workers from Illness
Passengers are being quarantined on docked cruise ships in ports across the globe to prevent transmission of the virus, but what about the thousands of cruise workers who must report for duty and are not being quarantined? The Diamond Princess cruise ship is docked in Japan and to date has had at least 175 confirmed cases of Covid-19. One worker fears because she and her colleagues must continue working for the guests, she is at a greater risk of exposure to the dangerous virus.
Unlike passengers who are generally isolated in private cabins, crew members share common eating and lodging areas, further increasing their risk of passing the virus. Princess Cruises said in a statement on their website that all crew members who have been cleared after an initial health screening are fulfilling their duties as required. Yet, not all workers have been tested or cleared, and if they are interacting with potentially infected passengers then returning to eat and sleep in common areas with their coworkers, Covid-19 will inevitably continue to spread.
Cape May Maritime Injury Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Protect the Rights of Maritime Workers
The laws that protect United States workers on land differ from those governing cruise ship employees and other watercraft workers. If you were injured or made ill while working at sea, trust the Cape May maritime injury lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. for specialized legal guidance. To learn more about our services and how we can work to recover compensation for your medical bills and lost wages after a work injury or illness, call us at 888-999-1962 or contact us online to schedule a free case review. Located in Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Pinehurst, North Carolina, we represent clients throughout South Jersey, including Cape May and Wildwood.