More than 12,000 crew members remain on cruise ships months after industry halted in March
A woman wearing a face mask runs with cruise ships docked in the background due to a no-sail order at the port of Long Beach, California, on April 11, 2020.
APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images
More than 12,000 cruise ship crew members are still at sea months after the novel coronavirus pandemic disrupted the industry and halted US cruise lines, USA TODAY reported.
The number is a dramatic decrease from reports in April that up to 80,000 crew members were stuck on 120 cruise ships on US waters as the country saw rapid climbs in outbreaks.
Brittany Panetta, a spokesperson for the US Coast Guard, told the outlet that they are “tracking 57 cruise ships moored, at anchor, or underway in vicinity of a US port, or with potential to arrive in a US port, with approximately 12,084 crew members.”
According to the report, the Coast Guard estimated 209 Americans on 37 ships while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted 53 people on 22 cruise ships in the US.
The numbers don’t clearly indicate how many of the cruise staff are working or just simply stuck aboard and CDC spokesperson Jason McDonald told USA TODAY that they are unsure about how many workers on these ships are “essential.” He also told the outlet that it is not clear if the 53 crew members aboard are working with the “cruise lines to be repatriated.”
McDonald told USA TODAY that the need for the workers is up to the cruise lines and that they “must complete response plans and meet certain criteria to determine whether crew members can use commercial or noncommercial transportation.”
A crew member of Celebrity Cruises from Mauritius told the outlet that he has been on cruise ships for months and is uncertain when he will be able to return home.
“The more time passes by and the more (stressful) it gets,” Akash Dookhun told USA TODAY.
Insider previously reported that the CDC extended its no-sail order through September 30.
“On cruise ships, passengers and crew share spaces that are more crowded than most urban settings,” the agency said in the order displayed on its website. “Even when only essential crew are on board, ongoing spread of COVID-19 still occurs.”
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