Coronavirus: Grand Princess returns to San Francisco to restock supplies, activists worried about crew members

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Over a month ago, 19 crew members and 2 passengers aboard the Grand Princess Cruise ship tested positive for COVID-19.

The passengers who were onboard the Grand Princess were taken from the Port of Oakland to military bases last month where they were quarantined for two weeks. Three people have since died, including one crew member last week.

TIMELINE: Grand Princess cruise ship docks at Port of Oakland after days at sea

Laurie Miller and Maureen James were among the 2,000 plus passengers who had to be confined to their cabins for days as they waited to dock.

"I know there was one gentleman that worked in one of the gift shops is from China. He can't go home," said James.

James and Miller credit the crew members for making them feel comfortable during uncertain times aboard the cruise ship.

"We know what is like to circle off the coast and not know what the next day is going to bring to you. We just hope there is an end in sight for them," said Miller.

RELATED: Coronavirus Outbreak: Everything to know about the Grand Princess cruise ship that docked in Oakland

Members of The National Alliance for Filipino Concerns greeted the Grand Princess Cruise ship Tuesday morning when it pulled into San Francisco for supplies. They are outraged that the crew is still on board, calling it inhumane.

"We are concerned there are still 650+ seafarers - Filipinos - on board. We are very concerned about their health and safety because they have been on board for more than a month. They did not have the opportunity to shelter in place, socially distance, on a very crowded cruise ship," said Terry Valen, president of the alliance, while two members held up a sign that said "Protection for the health, livelihood and welfare of the cruise workers."

"It's very upsetting for one worker to die in San Francisco. That should have never happened," said Valen.

He says the fact these people are not American citizens should not hurt their chances to get help.

"They need to get back to their home countries. Right now there may be temporary restrictions on travel, but we can't keep them on the ship, exposed to high levels of infection or possibility of infection," Valen said.

RELATED: Grand Princess cruise ship passengers headed home after completing quarantine at Travis Air Force Base

Valen says if the crew members aren't allowed off the ship Tuesday, he will keep fighting for them and will continue to try and get the attention of Princess Cruises and government officials.

Grand Princess Cruises confirmed they're working with governments on the return of crew. So far 438 crew workers.

Here's a statement from Grand Princess Cruises:

Today, Grand Princess was authorized by local authorities to dock temporarily at the Port of San Francisco to take on necessary provisions and will be departing today or tomorrow. Plans for where she will be positioned during the pause of Princess Cruises global fleet are being finalized.

The health and safety of our crew remains a top priority. Prior to the crew quarantine, testing was done on any crew member who showed symptoms of COVID-19. Crew with symptoms were medically disembarked, or isolated on board until they met the CDC definition for recovery. All crew were quarantined for 14 days to monitor symptoms and to reduce the possibility of transmission if they became symptomatic. This quarantine plan was developed and implement under the guidelines of the CDC's Vessel Sanitation Program. Since the quarantine period ended Saturday, we have one crew member still in isolation for COVID-19. They will remain in isolation until April 9 when are they anticipated to meet the CDC definition of recovery. Currently there are 614 crewmembers on board.

Princess Cruises did work with numerous governments on the repatriation of guests and crew members prior to the quarantine including the Philippines. The government of the Philippines repatriated 438 crew members and six guests on a chartered flight prior to the crew quarantine, some crew members remained as they had symptoms and were not fit to travel.

Currently, Princess Cruises is working on a crew repatriation plan across the fleet that is still being finalized. In the interim, all crew fleet wide will remain onboard in the care of Princess until which time a plan of repatriation can be successfully executed.


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