Filipino crew members on Royal Caribbean Cruises’ Celebrity ships have moved to federal court, demanding immediate repatriation by the company.
Ryan Maunes Maglana filed a lawsuit, on behalf of all Filipino crew on Celebrity’s 14 ships, in a federal court in Miami on Thursday (May 21). He said he and his co-workers have been held against their will without pay for more than two months as Royal Caribbean has repeatedly delayed repatriation plans for them.
The lawsuit alleges that the Filipino crew are being discriminated against because of their nationality and that the company has been negligent throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, failing to provide adequate medical care.
Ryan, who filed the lawsuit against the Royal Caribbean cruises, said he has been told he will be flying home on six different dates. All six flights were subsequently cancelled.
Notably, Royal Caribbean Cruises crew members are no longer receiving paychecks if they are not working on board. The company is giving crew members a mere amount of $400 a month. As reported by the Miami Herald, Crew members are spending most of the money — around $13 per day — on bottled water and toiletries.
Miami Herald reported 9,358 Filipinos with Royal Caribbean Cruises are still waiting to go home. With the exception of one ship already anchored off Manila with 224 Filipino crew members, all other Filipinos are scheduled on flights from now until late July.
Royal Caribbean Chairman Richard Fain told the Miami Herald that the biggest challenge to repatriating crew members is navigating each country’s changing rules.
The chances of this lawsuit providing any relief are really low as Royal Caribbean Cruises need not to comply with the U.S. labor laws as the company is incorporated in Liberia with Malta flagged ships.