C rew members state they have actually been caught aboard Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line ships for months without pay, “effectively held hostage” throughout the coronavirus pandemic, according to a class action lawsuit filed in federal court on Tuesday.

The match declares that thousands of workers have actually been “unnecessarily kept the ships for months on end, lots of thousands of miles far from their homes and households” and “suffered lost salaries and lost employment opportunities” as a result. After the pandemic shut down cruises in March, crew members were required to continue cleansing, cooking and keeping their ships without pay, according to the lawsuit, which was submitted in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

” This egregiously postponed repatriation amounts unlawful imprisonment of the team,” the lawsuit states.

In a statement, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line stated the business has” worked tirelessly with local governments all over the world to repatriate as a number of our team members as possible.”

” To date, more than 90 percent have safely returned home.

In an earlier declaration on July 21, announcing that it would not resume sailing operations up until October per new Centers for Disease Control and Avoidance rules, the cruise line stated it had “followed all needed guidelines, consisting of adhering to strict requirements for our onboard crew members, and installed the best security protocols in the market across our fleet to protect our guests and crew, who are always our top concern.”

Dragan Janicijevic, the lead plaintiff in the suit, is a Serbian citizen who was employed on one of the cruise ships as a gambling establishment dealer. He informed the Miami Herald that he and other workers had actually asked to be sent house in April, but were told the cruise line might not pay for charter flights, which were initially required by the CDC to avoid disembarking team members from potentially spreading out the infection on business flights. “They were keeping us hostage,” Janicijevic, who left the ship in late June, informed the Herald

When cruising operations were halted in March, the cruise line “forced all team members aboard the ship to sign a file mentioning they were voluntarily staying onboard, without pay,” according to the claim.

” The crewmembers were required to sign these agreements by being threatened that they would not be rehired if they did not sign,” the claim states. “This system of requiring crewmembers to work, without pay, is the equivalent of required labor or peonage.”

In July, the CDC extended its no-sail order for cruise liner through September. Other cruise liner business– consisting of Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings– have actually been paying working team members, but not paying the non-working team who remain on their ships, the Herald reported.

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Write to Katie Reilly at Katie.Reilly@time.com

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