Filipino cruise ship personnel face bleak prospects of getting back to their jobs as the industry is not expected to return in operation until the end of next year.
Administrator Hans Cacdac of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration revealed Friday that the cruise industry is expected to be shut for over a year.
However, as far as the Associated Marine Officers and Seafarers’ Union of the Philippines is concerned, the cruise industry that gave thousands of Filipinos good paying jobs may not get back to its feet until the start of 2022.
In a virtual meeting called by the House Committee on the Welfare of Overseas Filipinos, AMOSUP lawyer Jojo Sale the industry has been struggling since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“What many companies are doing right now is downsizing, cost-cutting,” said Sale.
Sale told congressmen that only the availability of an anti-COVID-19 vaccine could ensure the fast recovery of the cruise industry.
House Deputy Speaker and Ilocos Sur Rep. Deogracias Victor Savellano said the Filipino personnel assigned to cruise ships are among those who were hardest hit by impact of the COVID-19.
Nevertheless, Cacdac remained optimistic that Filipinos may expect re-employment in the cruise industry as soon as normal operations resume.
He also aired the optimism that cruise industry workers may also be given a chance to serve in the local hotel and restaurant industry.
Last year, industry leaders disclosed that over 30 million people took cruises. Majority of cruise ships are manned by Filipino seafarers, service crew, and entertainers who are heavily relied upon for their efficiency and industry.
However, the cruise lines took a steep decline as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
US-based Carnival Cruises alone has declared a record P4.4-billion loss during the first quarter of 2020. This company is the operator of the Diamond Princes Cruise Ship that was stranded for weeks in Japan for carrying hundreds of passengers and crew members.