The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said it is investigating the death of a Pinay cruise ship crew who committed suicide while aboard Harmony of the Seas in Barbados.
Mariah Jocson, 28, an assistant waitress, was found dead Tuesday inside her cabin. The ship stopped its operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic and docked off Barbados.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello said the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) is validating information coming from Jocson’s manning agency.
The tragedy was first reported in Cruise Law News website that said, “Crew member Mariah Jocson, who was described as a “new hire,” was reportedly found in her cabin this afternoon. There was an “Alpha, Alpha, Alpha” medical emergency broadcast on the ship’s PA system. Later, the captain publicly announced that the crew member had died. Her family reportedly have been notified. There was no official announcement or explanation regarding her cause of death.”
Jocson was from Mandaluyong City and was assigned to the dining department of Harmony of the Seas as an assistant waitress.
DOLE investigates death of Pinay cruise ship crew
“The Harmony of the Seas is currently in Barbados with around 2,000 crew members still aboard waiting to be returned home, including many crew members who transferred from the Vision of the Seas, Majesty of the Seas, and Rhapsody of the Seas. She reportedly previously was on the Rhapsody,” the Cruise Laws added.
Her family described Jocson as a strong and independent woman, a beautiful soul with a great and big smile.
The news blog also reported three more deaths of Filipinos working on cruise ships. “A week ago, a long term employee from the Philippines died suddenly on a Crystal Cruises ship. Two weeks ago, a Filipino crew member died on the Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady. A Filipino galley employee on the AIDAblu also died,” it said.
Malacañang tasked the concerned government agencies to take care of the mental health of OFWs affected by the pandemic. It also ordered them to speed-up the overseas workers’ return to the Philippines.
“The Palace is saddened by the unfortunate death of a seafarer on board the Harmony of the Seas for repatriation… Concerned authorities are now investigating the matter,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said in a statement.