A Filipino crew worker attempted suicide and succumbed on a cruise ship which is docked in Barbados. The 28-year-old Mariah Jocson was found dead in her cabin in the cruise ship Harmony of the Seas.
The incident marks the second toll of self-harm cases among the overseas Filipinos seafarers.
Teodoro Locsin Jr, the foreign secretary announced the death of crew member. Her extended stay on board was due to the suspension of repatriation flights to the Philippines. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has not yet disclosed any details about the incident.
According to the local news, the cruise ship docked Bridgetown Port on May 27. The Bahamas-flagged cruise ship is currently sailing on the Caribbean Sea and its destination is listed as “drifting”, according to a website Vessel Finder.
On May 24 there was another reported case of suicide at Philippine Oversees Labor office shelter, Lebanon.
Since the start of the pandemic around 50,000 overseas Filipinos have been repatriated to the homeland, most of them either COVID-stricken or jobless or both. This has left the government with the ‘burden’ of arranging for the tests and quarantine facility for all of them.
Thousands of Filipinos are stuck in Metro Manila owing to delays and ambiguity in quarantine procedures. Due to such a situation, the National Task Force directed to limit international arrivals. As a result, many flights have got cancelled.
Despite the government order that gave direction to take the repatriates home in just 5 days after their arrival, many remain stranded in Manila where they wait for transport to get back home.
The rising number of suicides may be possibly due to logistical challenges, travel restrictions imposed by countries and changing policies about repatriating their citizens. This, in turn, results in the ambiguity and confusions among the crew members over their return and chances is that they suffer from a sense of isolation, depression and frustration.