Just one day away from reuniting with their families and friends, 295 TT nationals on board the Enchantment of the Seas cruise ship were swabbed on Thursday evening.
They are now awaiting their second covid19 negative result. Once they get one, they will be released on Saturday.
The vessel docked at the Port of Spain International Waterfront Centre around 3.40 pm and groups of ten were allowed to disembark to be swabbed. They were then escorted back to their cabins before another group was taken off, Newsday was told.
By 5.40 half of them had been swabbed.
The area was blocked off with plywood when Newsday visited.
One man onboard the vessel told Newsday via text message he is excited to return to his family. He said his mother is praying his result is negative so that he can be sent home on Saturday.
Initially, the group wassupposed to be tested on Wednesday but a protest by port workers prevented it.
In the first swab, on June 14, six people tested positive for covid19. They were sent to Caura Hospital for treatment.
Days later another four people were taken off the ship for non-covid19 medical issues.
The group includes cruise line workers who were left at sea when the pandemic led to the closure of airports and ports in many countries.
Some of them have been stranded for almost three months, asking the government for an exemption to return home.
Those on the Enchantment of the Seas are the third group of cruise ship workers to receive an exemption from Minister of National Security Stuart Young to return home.
On June 4, 26 people returned to Trinidad onboard the Carnival Fantasy and were kept in state quarantine at the Home of Football in Couva.
Six musicians returned on May 23 after two months aboard the Caribbean Princess. They were kept at the Debe/Penal UWI campus and were released after their 14-day quarantine.