It’s been two months since all of the cruise ships closed down due to COVID-19 –but now, more than 100,000 workers are still trapped on ships, with many of those employees not even being paid.
According to reports from the Miami Herald, these crew members don’t know when they’ll be able to go home. While these same cruises allowed most passengers to leave the ships, employees have been left stranded with the virus still continuing to make its way through the ships. 578 employees and counting have tested positive for coronavirus, seven of which have died. To make matters even more heartbreaking, at least two crew members have taken their own lives.
On March 13 is when cruise companies initially shut down, thinking their cancellations would only last for 30 days. Some workers were sent home that month, but by April 9, in order to prevent further outbreaks, the CDC prohibited cruises in U.S. waters through at least the end of July.
Now, Carnival Corporation has sent home 37% of its crew still on board, after passengers left. MSC Cruises has repatriated 76%, Disney Cruise Line 33%, and Royal Caribbean Cruises, an estimated 23%. Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line told the Herald that it has sent home around 100 people.
With the CDC’s No Sail Order set to expire in July, the cruise industry already has its eyes set on when it can reopen. Carnival Cruise has already announced that some of its ships will be ready to set sail on August 1, when it will have eight ships sailing from ports in Texas and Florida, which will make stops in the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Mexico, and more.