The Documentary Podcast
The seafarers stranded on the high seas
Thursday, 11 June
There are currently 200,000 seafarers stuck working on vessels across the globe and unable to be relieved of their duties. These are the men and women responsible for transporting 90% of the world's trade, from the food we eat to the clothes we wear. While goods are still flowing, the people transporting these goods are struggling.
Every month, 100,000 seafarers leave their ships and are replaced by others. But due to covid-19, most of these crew changes have been cancelled for several months. Seafarers are in effect prisoners unable to leave the ship.
Maritime unions and ships owners are warning that covid-19 restrictions could lead to a “humanitarian crisis” as seafarers’ mental health and performance worsen in the face of increasing fatigue – in a profession, which already had a high prevalence of accidents, depression and suicide pre-pandemic.
What will it take to bring seafarers home? Assignment hears from the men and women stuck on board and those trying to help them; offering a unique insight into the often-forgotten human story of the global sea trade.
Presented and produced by Estelle Doyle
(Image: Seafarer looking out to sea. Credit: Artem Radchenko)