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In our lifetimes, war, famine, natural disasters, and now a global pandemic have resulted in humanitarian crises. These present ethical dilemmas that are time sensitive and so demand a response. One humanitarian crisis you may remember from April 2020 unfolded off the shores of South Florida. There were more than 20 cruise ships in our waters with passengers who were sick and dying from COVID-19. Most of the ships did not have passengers that were American citizens, but two of them together carried over 300 American citizens. However, officials were reluctant to allow the ships with American citizens to dock. The two ships eventually did dock at Port Everglades. Read about the ships and the conditions of the passengers’ return to land here:
Holland America Deal Reached
Even months later, there were still more than 40,000 cruise ship workers from many different countries stuck at sea. Some were suffering from COVID-19, two had committed suicide, and the workers had not received paychecks in months. Read about it here:
40,000 crew still at sea
Some reports suggest that the number of those stranded were actually much higher:
300,000 seafarers still stuck on ships: ‘We feel like hostages’
While most of the workers are not American citizens, the companies that own many of the ships, such as Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., are American companies – and so are governed by American labor laws.
For this weekly check-in, share your thoughts about the stranded crews and the companies that own the ships. In particular, do you think nations, such as the United States, should have more readily found ways to get them off the ships? If so, what strategies do you think could have been used to get them to shore and medical treatment? If not, what do you think should happen to them? Also, what obligations do you think the companies have to their workers? Why? Finally, do you think your thoughts on the matter would be different if you were one of the stranded crew members? If so, how do you resolve that conflict in your own mind?
Discuss this topic in at least a paragraph for your original post. After doing so, reply to the ideas posted by at least two classmates.
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Weekly Check In 7
The American government/businesses absolutely have a moral obligation to help those stuck on the cruise ships. American citizens or not they are their employees, and much more importantly HUMAN BEINGS. These people are not only sick with a terrifyingly new and debilitating virus, but are thousands of miles away from home with no way of returning and to add insult to injury, not getting paid. It is unfathomable how these cruise ship companies rely on Carribean countries for their tourism and Carribean people for the labor that tourism requires, but when push comes to shove have no interest in supporting them in a time of dire need. I completely understand that they do not want to infect others and spread COVID any further, but there is a happy medium between that and leaving people to rot. I feel that they could have set up quarantine camps, allowed the sick passengers to recover and test negative, and then negotiate with their home countries to allow the crew to return home once it is proven they no longer will spread the sickness. The negotiations may be difficult, but the countries depend on the cruise lines for tourism income so they do weild a lot of power. If the home countries won’t allow crews to return home from a humanitarian standpoint, perhaps they would from a business standpoint. If I were a crewmember I would feel very resentful towards my employer for not helping me. Businesses must realize that before anyone is an employee, they are human beings who deserve rights, and those rights include safety and the ability to go home when the work is done. At this point, the cruise companies are providing neither and it is sickening.
Weekly Check In 7 Adriana Monteagudo
In my opinion, I feel that the military could have been organized to remove the passengers and cruise from the ships. While I do believe that leaving these individuals stranded on the ship was incorrect, I understand the ideas that may have fueled such a decision. This was a new, highly contagious, and deadly virus that was brought from overseas and was uncontrollable at the time. Disembarking hundreds of people who were potentially contaminated with the virus into a major city would create a serious health crisis in the nation. If you are thinking of the greater good, the correct decision was to not allow the passengers and crew immediately into the city. However, not allowing these people, who are citizens or otherwise employees of American companies, to be removed from the ship and treated with medical attention was a mistake. Ideally, the military would have been deployed to evacuate the people from the ship and house them in separate facilities until they were treated or otherwise determined healthy. As for the funding for such a procedure, it should have arisen as a federal expense. I do not believe the companies should pay for a situation that was beyond their control, like a disease outbreak. Humanitarian relief groups should have also donated to cover the costs. The priority in our actions must always be to save lives. My answer remains the same whether it be my own family and loved ones on the ship or those of another.
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