Nicaraguan Sailors Stranded at Sea Ask Ortega: “Let Us In”

View of the Royal Caribbean cruise line’s ship, Rhapsody of the Seas, stranded as well, off the coast of Panama. EFE/Ym Yik | Confidencial

Nearly one hundred sailors stranded in the Caribbean Sea ask the government for permission to disembark on Nicaraguan territory and return to their families.

By EFE (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – On Friday, a group of 93 sailors of Nicaraguan origin, stranded in the Caribbean Sea, asked the Ortega government to allow them to disembark on Nicaraguan territory so they can return to their families after several months of working on international tourist cruise ships.

The sailors sent a video message to Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega in which they held up an enormous sign with the phrase: “Let us in, we’re Nicaraguans”.

As of yesterday afternoon, the Nicaraguans remained onboard US-based Carnival Cruise Line’s ship, Carnival Glory, near the San Andres archipelago, located to the east of Nicaragua in Colombian territory, according to the sailors.

Stranded since March 17, 2020

“Sirs of the Nicaraguan government, we are asking for your help. We need to enter Nicaragua. We’ve been stranded on the cruise ship, Carnival Glory, since March 17th and we need to enter our country,” said one of the sailors who didn’t give his name.

Carnival Glory has made the rounds between Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Venezuela and Colombia, where some 3,000 employees of Carnival Cruise lines have disembarked without any problems. Yet the Nicaraguans haven’t had the same luck, according to the sailors.

“We each need to return to our homes, and I don’t know what’s happening with Nicaragua that they don’t let us in. They told us one date at first, then another date, and now no one knows who we are or where we are. No one knows anything. Please, help us figure out a way to find a solution,” insisted the group’s spokesperson.

They say they don’t have COVID-19

The Nicaraguan sailors affirm that they are not infected with coronavirus nor do they have any symptoms of COVID-19.

They also confirmed that some 100 employees of Norwegian Cruise Lines are in the same situation after being stranded in Barbados and more recently in Guatemala.

With these 93 sailors (near San Andres), the total number of Nicaraguans trying to return to their county in the midst of the SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus)  pandemic, without success, rises to 444.

In April, the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (Cenidh) denounced that the Nicaraguan government refused entry to 251 citizens, 160 of which were stranded in the Cayman Islands, 48 in Honduras, and 43 in El Salvador.

Their families are asking for them

The sailors’ families have complained publically to government authorities in the city of Bluefields, on Nicaragua’s southern Caribbean coast, without any reply.

Cenidh has indicated that, by refusing the Nicaraguan workers entry into their country of origin, Ortega is “violating international human rights norms and our own Constitution”.

Nicaraguan authorities have made no comment on the matter.