returning nationals

Happy to be home: One of the returning nationals from the Carnival Fantasy cruise ship proudly displays the national flag while being taken to quarantine. —Photos: JERMAINE CRUICKSHANK

After a long wait, nationals employed with the Carnival cruise line have finally returned home.

Twenty-nine nationals who have spent months on board the Fantasy cruise ship, the lead ship of the Fantasy class of cruise ships, were placed into state quarantine last night at the National Racquet Centre in Tacarigua.

The ship arrived in Trinidad waters early yesterday morning after a seven-day voyage from Port Labadie in Haiti. However, nationals were not immediately allowed to disembark the vessel.

Hours after arriving, they were transported to the Cruise Ship Complex, Port of Spain via a tugboat. The tugboat made multiple trips to transport the nationals and their luggage to shore.

The nationals left the Cruise Ship Complex after 6 p.m. and were escorted by members of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) and Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force. They were all placed in a PTSC bus which headed to Tacarigua.

Despite the wait, however, the nationals appeared jubilant as they entered the bus and waved T&T’s national flag. Now why the wait to come back home?

“According to one relative of a cruise ship worker, “The Carnival Fantasy was given clearance to repatriate our nationals effective May 31 and when they returned were expected be quarantined at the Home of Football. However, when last Saturday the Ministry of Health declared its 117th case of Covid-19, my relative told us that they were contacted by the Government and told they had to wait before they could return home. They could no longer be placed into quarantine at the Home of Football because of this new case. They were then given permission to enter Trinidad on June 1 and then the Government reneged this. The ship was only allowed to refuel at Pointe-a-Pierre yesterday (Wednesday) then they were informed they could dock close to the port in Port of Spain today (Thursday). When they arrived they were then informed that they would have to pay to enter and be placed into quarantine. However, after it was all cleared it, they were allowed to disembark in the afternoon. I am just happy they are back home safely.”

The group is expected to be tested today as they begin their 14-day quarantine.

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