Royal Caribbean halts hiring in India, suspends Indian crew assignments as Covid cases surge


The Mariner of the Seas cruise ship, operated by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., shown in 2018.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Royal Caribbean Cruises is temporarily suspending all assignments for its staff from India and will halt hiring in the country, amid a surge of Covid-19 cases there, according to a report by Crew Center.

India reported a record number of coronavirus cases for the fifth consecutive day on Monday, with over 350,000 new infections over a 24-hour period and 17 million total infections in the country.

“It’s always unfortunate when we must cancel assignments but we believe this is a prudent decision at this time,” the news outlet quoted Royal Caribbean International as saying, citing a letter to the crew that it had obtained. “It’s not the way that we want to operate, but it is the reality of the quick changes we need to make based on different reasons that are often unplanned and beyond our direct control.”

According to Crew Center’s report, around 300 Indian crew members were supposed to work on the company’s Anthem of the Seas ship, starting on May 3. A person familiar with the matter told the news outlet that accommodations will be provided to crew under quarantine guidelines. Some of the workers were already in St. Maarten, the report said.

A Royal Caribbean spokesperson told CNBC in an email: “We continue to monitor impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world including travel restrictions to and from areas with a high rate of cases. To ensure the continued health and safety of our crew, guests and the residents of the destination we visit, we are currently exercising extra caution in the movement of any crew from India to our ships due to the recent surge of COVID-19.”

This article was originally published on CNBC