Diane Webster and her daughter, Christina Webber. (Submitted photo)

COVID-19: Parksville woman in limbo on cruise ship in the Philippines

Crew member hasn’t been allowed to fly home to Canada

A Parksville woman remains on a cruise ship in the Philippines, trying to get home and stuck in limbo on the boat she works on due to COVID-19 concerns.

Diane Webster works in the Queen Elizabeth Cunard Line’s salon. Since unloading all the passengers in late March, Webster and the hundreds of other crew members have been waiting for a way to get back to their respective homes.

“It’s still up in the air, but the last she heard was that the ship is going to charter all the nonresidents, like not the Philippines, over to England,” said her daughter, Christine Webber, also of Parksville. “And then from England, send them out to their own countries, if there are flights going from Heathrow to Canada.”

READ MORE: Government to evacuate Canadians from quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship

However, Webber said the ship has been looking for a place to dock for a while, and the plan isn’t set in stone. Earlier, they thought the same option might be possible out of Australia.

“It’s all hit and miss to whether the country will let them in,” said Webber. “Just to get to an airport.”

Webber has phoned the Canadian consulate, but she said they told her they couldn’t help.

“Every time they hit a port, they buy her a flight, the ship buys the flights,” she said. “But they can’t get to the airports to get these flights to go home, because the country won’t let them into their land.”

Webber said she knows her mother is safe, they’ve been COVID-19 free on the ship for over a month, but that the uncertainty of the situation and her wanting to be with her mother is upsetting.

“I’m slightly worried about her for sure, but I know she’s safe where she is,” she said. “It’s more frustration than worry… I want her home, everyone wants her home where we know we can see her and she’s safe.”


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