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Coronavirus: Sailors tell of months stuck on ships

Coronavirus: Sailors tell of months stuck on ships
Howard Mustoe and Sam Proffitt 6 May 2020

Seafarers across the world are stuck on their ships, spending months without shore leave as ports ban crew transfers.

While most are being paid and some are getting extra pay, they are doing their jobs without the expected breaks, often 12 hours a day and seven days a week.

Since March, many ports are refusing to allow crew changes or shore leave, meaning for some that a three-month contract becomes almost twice as long.

Most crew members say they've had contracts extended in the past, when illness or bad weather delays their relief crew. But mariners with long memories say a situation like this, with no end in sight, is unprecedented.

"We are all stuck out here and we don't know what to do," says an officer on a tanker vessel.

"Everybody's waiting as to what your home country will do. Only when the home country is ready to accept their own citizens, we can go home."