Female Filipino cruise ship worker found dead inside cabin
A female crew member of a cruise ship that had stopped operations because of the coronavirus disease pandemic committed suicide after months of waiting for a repatriation flight to the Philippines.
On June 9, Mariah Jocson, 28, was found dead in her cabin in the Royal Caribbean ship, Harmony of the Seas, which was anchored off Barbados.
Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. confirmed on Thursday that Jocson took her own life onboard the cruise ship where some 2,000 crew members were also waiting to be returned home.
“[I]t is my sad duty to report that a 28-year-old female mariner committed suicide in her cabin in the ship where she’s had to stay because repatriation flights back to the Philippines have been suspended again,” Locsin tweeted.
“We are tartly reminded that Filipino resilience is no excuse to stretch them to breaking point. Di sila goma; tao sila (They are not rubber; they are people),” he added.
Locsin said Jocson’s was the second suicide among overseas Filipino workers (OFW) who were unable to come home since the COVID-19 crisis struck.
The blog Cruise Law News said Jocson, who was from Mandaluyong City, was a newly hired assistant waitress of the Rhapsody of the Seas, which is also operated by Royal Caribbean. She and the ship’s crew were later quarantined at the Harmony of the Seas.
The same news blog said that since May 1, eight other crew members had reportedly committed suicide, and that another employee had attempted to do so.
The suicides included that of a 32-year-old Filipino hotel utility employee who died in mid-May on Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady anchored off the coast of Florida.
The cruise crew’s suicide brings to at least five the number of suicides among OFWs amid the global health crisis. The latest was that of a 48-year-old male COVID-19 patient in Cebu City who jumped from the third floor of the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center on Tuesday.
The Department of Health (DOH) reminded the public, especially those who may have mental health issues, that they can contact the DOH’s 24/7 Hopeline to either help them unburden their emotional baggage or to seek professional help. Hopeline can be reached via tel. no. (02) 8044673, mobile no. 0917 558 4673 or toll-free 2919 for Globe and TM subscribers.
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