About 650 stranded Indian seafarers on cruise ship Marella Cruises’ Explorer staged protests against the conditions they had been living.
Stranded off the coast of the UK for more than 90 days since the March 13th ban on crew exchange imposed on the cruise industry, protesters complained that their employees and the company did not have an apparent plan to repatriate them.
An approximated 100,000 seafarers employed in the cruise ship industry were stuck onboard ships when lockdown began. After a series of chartered flights and voyages by entire cruise lines across hundreds of nautical miles, the number has been brought up to 40000. Most of them onboard stopped receiving payment after mid-April.
On 15th June, 160 Indian crew members demonstrated a hunger strike onboard MV Astoria orchestrating similar grievances. They even submitted a Facebook video to a cruise crew advocacy news source- CrewCentre.com.
“We request you to help us, and help our company to repatriate us. Our families need us.” was a crew member’s message to the Indian government and the Indian Embassy, London.
Crew members held up signs saying, ” Indian government, Where are you? We need help.”
The crew felt sheer anger and desperation. A protestor displayed the sign, ” Enough is Enough.”
It is clear that crew members have had their patience run aground, showcasing the psychological effects that the UN-designated humanitarian crisis is having on common seafarers.
“Frustrated, what next? Suicide” was the battle cry of another protestor, possibly referring to the 8-plus deaths in the cruising industry since the onset of the March 13 lockdown.
Marine Insight does not own the rights of the video.