The United States (US) government has reportedly punished Zimbabwean cruise ship workers, stating that they pose a migration risk.
A leaked internal human resources email from the luxury ocean liner, Celebrity Cruises, informed staff members of the directive from the Miami Customs and Border Control officers. The order was effected on 20 February 2023.
The email said Zimbabwean workers are no longer allowed to leave cruise ships once they dock in Miami, Florida, and they must fly back home on the same day. It read:
“Please be advised, as per Miami Customs & Border Protection officers, effective immediately, crew (sic) from Zimbabwe nationality will not be allowed for Shore Leave in the port of Miami, and when disembarking the ship in Miami, they must be safeguarded with flights departing on the same day.
Celebrity Cruises indicated that the directive from Miami immigration authorities was because Zimbabweans were fleeing inland after docking for leave at various destinations:
“[The] Reason for these restrictions is, lately, there has been a significant increase in deserting Zimbabwe crew from multiple cruise lines. We regret the impact of these restrictions to [sic] you and expect your kind understanding & corporation. Thank you.”
Lately, there has been a surge in the number of Zimbabweans hunting for better job prospects on cruise ships from countries like the United Kingdom, United States and the Caribbean, Zimbabwe Mail reports.
A group of Zimbabweans even set up a company that helps people get cruise ships jobs, and it would recruit about 100 people daily as of November 2022, the publication revealed.
Last November, hordes of people were reportedly duped that the Italian line MSC Cruises was recruiting people at a local hotel in Harare.
Locals who join cruise ship crews become housekeepers, laundry workers, waitresses and bartenders. A 2019 Business Insider article revealed that Norwegian Cruise Line paid their staff an average salary of about US$1 700.
Cruise Critic reports that a single cruise can take over 250 days at sea.