At least 12,000 crew members are still stranded on cruise ships in U.S. waters because of the coronavirus pandemic, USA Today reported.
More than 40,000 people were stranded worldwide in June, as countries and cruise companies have been caught in between repatriation procedures, management of the pandemic and maintaining the giant boats.
Thousands of workers are stuck in the middle, forced to live on cruise ships with nothing to do months after they were supposed to return home, according to USA Today.
“The more time passes by and the more (stressful) it gets,” Akash Dookhun, a Mauritian Celebrity Cruises worker told USA Today. “We basically don’t do much.”
Those 12,000 people are spread across 57 ships “moored, at anchor, or underway in the vicinity of a U.S. port,” the Coast Guard told USA Today. The military branch estimated that 209 Americans are on board.
Dookhun and his colleagues are being paid, though less than usual, USA Today reported. Not all workers are so lucky. Crew members with Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line have filed a lawsuit since they’re stranded at sea without pay.
“It’s shocking that a company thought this was acceptable,” Michael Winkleman, the attorney who filed the suit, told USA Today. “I think similar issues are happening across the industry, with crew members stuck on the ships for nearly five months now.”