COVID curbs leave 100,000 commercial seafarers stranded at seaAnother 100,000 are stuck on shore, unable to earn a livingOnly 2.5% have been vaccinated, shipping body estimatesShipping industry turmoil could threaten global supply lines
LONDON/SINGAPORE, July 20 (Reuters) – “I’ve seen grown men cry,” says Captain Tejinder Singh, who hasn’t set foot on dry land in more than seven months and isn’t sure when he’ll go home.
“We are forgotten and taken for granted,” he says of the plight facing tens of thousands of seafarers like him, stranded at sea as the Delta variant of the coronavirus wreaks havoc on shore.
“People don’t know how their supermarkets are stocked up.”
Singh and most of his 20-strong crew have criss-crossed the globe on an exhausting odyssey: from India to the United States then on to China, where they were stuck off the congested coast for weeks waiting to unload cargo. He was speaking to Reuters from the Pacific Ocean as his ship now heads to Australia.