Cruise Ships in Singapore Housing 3,000 Migrant Workers After Recovering From COVID-19

Even in these grim times, some 3,000 migrant workers are having a time of their life as they are lodged on board two mid-sized cruise ships in Singapore. The SuperStar Gemini and SuperStar Aquarius, docked at Marina Bay Cruise Center, are being used as temporary accommodations for workers who recently recovered from COVID-19.

Both the cruise ships that house non-essential workers are run by Genting Cruise Lines. During a media tour of SuperStar Gemini on May 23, Michael Goh, head of international sales at Genting, said the company is prepared to house the workers until the end of July and would extend the arrangements if necessary.

To support the operations, around 200 crew members have been deployed on each cruise. To reduce the number of people staying at existing foreign workers dorms, such temporary arrangements were made by the government. Migrant workers have become the main source of COVID-19 transmission in Singapore.

200 Workers Disembark

SuperStar Gemini
SuperStar Gemini Wikimedia Commons

Indian national Sathiyavasan, a safety supervisor, has been staying and enjoying the sea view from the deck of SuperStar Gemini for 10 days. He has been assigned a twin-cabin with plush interiors and cannot wait to return to work, The Strait Times reported. "It's been two months since I worked or saw my friends... I want to go outside and feel free," he said.

According to Singapore Tourism, around 200 workers have disembarked to return to their dorms since the first group of workers boarded on April 29. The workers are permitted to use the outdoor spaces of the ship for around three-quarters of the time daily and are mostly required to stay in their cabins.

The outdoor sessions have been divided into 10 groups where workers need to wear face masks and maintain one-meter safe distance compulsorily. During this time, Sathiyavasan usually video calls his family to show them the view and inform them that he is keeping fine.

Temperature Screening Twice a Day

SARS-CoV-2 Pixabay

Medical facilities are available at the cruise and workers are screened for temperatures twice a day. All the workers on board are no longer infectious and reported to be well. Keeping safe distancing measures in place, they also have been allowed to dine in restaurants instead of their rooms in the last few days.

This has been a great learning experience for everyone since many workers had no experience in running a dormitory. "This dedication - it's no different from that of the front-line workers in the hospitals. And this is something we should appreciate them for," said chief executive Lionel Wong of Sats-Creuers Cruise Services.