Coronavirus (Image: CSIRO)

With Australians still struggling to comprehend why thousands of passengers were allowed to disembark the Ruby Princess, enabling them to spread COVID-19 to all corners of the country, authorities are now grappling with another problem: what about crew members still on board the ship? 

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) estimates thousands of crew members are stranded on board the Ruby Princess and dozens of other cruise liners now anchored off the coast of Australia -- many of them foreign workers. 

Crikey spoke to the wife of one Filipino worker stuck on board the contaminated Ruby Princess. Speaking anonymously for fear of repercussions for her husband, she said she was worried about him as he had fallen ill and did not know when he would be able to return home.