Michael Bayley, President, and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line announced on his Facebook page today that crew members are under attack from scammers.
An e-mail sent to Royal Caribbean crew members states that the company mourns the coronavirus outbreak, and each crew member will be given an additional salary bonus. The crew is then asked to confirm their salary payment on a web address, which leads to a deceptive website. Royal Caribbean Blog also reported on this.
Michael Bayley reacted on his Facebook page:
To my crew,
There is an e-mail scam going around with my name on it. These scammers are trying to attain your personal information. Do not click on the links! All crew information and updates will be shared through MyRCLHome, and we will never ask you for your personal information via e-mail.
Why target those in perilous positions?
While scams like these are common these days, it is gripping that a scam of this kind is targeted at crew members who are struggling to survive in many cases. A good number of crew will have seen the message and clicked it, hoping some extra cash was coming.
It is still unclear for thousands of crew members on when they will be able to return to work. Since the Pandemic broke out, many crew members have been out of work, some since January 2020 or December 2019.
For those crew members that are on board the ships to maintain them, the situation would not be much different. Once a ship sails without guests, the crew members would only be paid a basic salary. Many of the additions to the crew members’ salaries, like tips and such, would only be paid out if guests actually are onboard.
While the crew is working for 20-25% of their regular salaries, constructions like these are precisely why companies like RCL, Carnival, and NCL can thrive. Do keep in mind that under normal circumstances, they pay a reasonable to good salary to many thousands and thousands of crew.
Crew members depend on ships to be able to provide a future for their entire family; often one person will support the several family members in school, upkeep, and more.
A scam like this hits incredibly hard to crew members that do not have a positive outlook on the future and is, frankly, a despicable act. The sad part is that exactly for the above mentioned reasons, the crew members are the ones under attack from these scammers.
Is the crew only at risk from outside?
From this point onwards, it would be interesting to see how the cruise lines intend to operate the ships and protect crew members from COVID-19. It is a common practice on board for crew members to share a cabin with 3-4 or 5 others.
With COVID-19 an immediate threat, this would seem to be one of the factors that cruise lines will need to deal with if they really do care for their crew as much as they say.
So while Royal Caribbean is good to inform and warn their crew members from outside threats, it would be good to see that cruise lines, including but not limited to Royal Caribbean, also look at protecting their crew members internally.