More than two months after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the cruise industry, more than 100,000 crew members are still stuck on ships with no idea when they'll get home, and with some of them not getting paid, according to the Miami Herald.
During this time, 578 crew members on various ships have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and seven have died from the disease. Two more crew members have jumped overboard in apparent suicides.
Crew members on a Royal Caribbean cruise went on a hunger strike for more than 72 hours in an attempt to get the company to let them go home.
Gan Sungralingum, a crew member who works in the retail department on a Carnival cruise ship, hasn't been on land in more than two months, according to the Herald. The ship dropped off its last passengers in Florida on March 14. He hasn't been paid since April 12. His home country, Mauritius, is not allowing citizens to return home.
Sungralingum compared the time on the ship to prison. He eats meals in the dining hall, and spends his days either in his passenger room or in the gym during his allotted time slot.
The cruise companies say complications with government rules of various nations are the reason so many crew members have been stuck on ships. Ports around the world are closed, and countries have varying travel restrictions.
Although the International Labor Organization, a United Nations organization, has recommended that crews at least get sick pay during the pandemic, many crew members say that hasn't happened. From the Herald:
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, MSC Cruises, and Disney Cruise Line crew who are no longer working on board say they are not getting paid. Royal Caribbean crew say they're receiving $400 per month. Carnival Cruise Line crew say they are being paid 60 days past the end of their contract. Crew on other Carnival Corp. brand ships, like Princess Cruises, say they are not being paid.
Norwegian Cruise Line crew say they have not been paid since the end of March. The company did not respond to requests for comment about this issue.
"I pay rent for my parents and sister," Meshal Habib of Romania, who works for the Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, said. "I need to go home to work."
(H/T: New York Post)