- Travel restrictions and tight virus controls leave thousands of weary seafarers stranded at sea.
- Shipping companies hit by crumbling demand and fractured supply chains due to COVID-19.
- Global travel restrictions to rein virus spread has made movements impossible.
- Limitations on crew change can cause serious disruption to the flow of trade.
- Several crew members aboard the Gjertrud Maersk vessel had shown coronavirus symptoms and several tested positive.
- Various shipping regulators have requested seafarers as ‘essential’ workers to allow travel.
According to an article published in The Wall Street Journal and authored by Costas Paris, travel restrictions and tight virus controls leave thousands of weary seafarers at sea, fearing they might get infected.
Companies hit by dwindling demand and irregular supply
Oceangoing shipping companies, already hit by crumbling demand and fractured supply chains from the coronavirus pandemic, are facing another problem on their vessels.
Thousands of seafarers can’t travel to man ships, leaving growing numbers of crews around the world exhausted and facing illness at sea.
Replacing crews is a complicated operation that involves flying a total of more than 100,000 sailors industrywide around the world every month to connect with ships at far-flung ports. The seafarers often replace crew members who have been at sea for months at a time, with occasional brief breaks on land while containers, iron ore, grains, and other goods are loaded and unloaded.
Restrictions on travel
But the widespread travel restrictions countries have imposed to rein back the spread of the coronavirus have made such movement nearly impossible.
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