Samoan govt says stranded sailors have to stay put

The Samoan government says it will not be bringing home over 320 stranded sailors as long as countries continue to close their borders through Covid-19 precautions.

This is despite a call by the International Transport Federation for the government to find ways to repatriate the sailors.

The ITF's Scott McDine urged the government to act through an email to the Samoa Observer newspaper.

"As we have said, Governments cannot continue with a mentality of out of sight, out of mind, and must use all their influence to end this humanitarian crisis," Scott McDine said.

"All Governments must ramp up action before we see more serious consequences."

Mr McDine addressed the major challenges to the mental health and well-being of workers onboard ships and under confinement related to the coronavirus.

The sailors are mostly stranded on board cruise ships in the Mediterranean where they are under quarantine until they can be repatriated.

Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Papali'i Niko Lee Hang, says even if international borders do not open until Christmas, the sailors will have to wait.

"Even if they get through one border they will be stuck in another because they have to cross four borders until they get home," said Papali'i.