Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Stranded at sea, coronavirus takes a toll on mental health of sailors

HONG KONG — When Ritesh Mehra, 43, enlisted for a four-month stint as captain on a liquid gas tanker last July, he never expected to be stranded at sea until spring.

“Twice it has happened that the ports are not allowing crew change,” Mr. Mehra told Reuters via Zoom from the bridge of the 80,000-tonne ship docked outside the Indian port of Haldia.

“My family won’t trust me anymore. I have been giving them dates when I would come home from December.”

Mr. Mehra, who has 20 years’ experience at sea, is also trying to buoy the spirits of his nervous crew of 23, many struggling with fatigue and social isolation.

“Being chained to this particular place, you can almost say jail, is bearing on the crew now,” Mr. Mehra said. “They are thinking more about it than the actual job at hand.”

An estimated 100,000 seafarers are stranded at sea due to the pandemic, the International Chamber of Shipping said last week.

Crew rotations depend on complex logistics, including securing transit visas and arranging chartered flights to repatriate sailors when they disembark at an international port.

In order to maintain effective operations and safety, sailors are only allowed off a ship when a replacement can be brought on board.

Arranging for the right entry permits, and quarantine and testing to take place during the short time when a ship is at port can be daunting because of coronavirus restrictions.

As a result, crew rotations during the pandemic are often canceled at short notice, while regular shore leave, once a mainstay of life at sea, has also come to a halt.

Near Hong Kong’s busy waterways, visiting ships are often anchored for days as they unload goods to smaller vessels or barges.

Reverend Stephen Miller, who would normally come aboard to give counseling and advice to sailors, is now reduced to delivering bags with supplies, including SIM cards and snacks. He says he is concerned about the sailors’ mental health.

“You can just imagine it for yourself, you have been planning to go home, maybe see a young child for the first time in many months, and then it is taken away from you,” he said.

“That obviously leads to sadness, which can lead to depression. If it is not talked about, it may sadly lead to people thinking that life’s not worth living.”

Mr. Mehra finally disembarked this month and has returned to India, his family eagerly waiting to see him. During his time at sea, he had missed the funeral of a close relative and said his time away had taken a toll on his family.

“My younger son is not talking to me very well,” he said. “There will be things I have to take care of. It is not going to be a very joyful homecoming.” — Aleksander Solum/Reuters

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get the daily email that makes reading the news actually enjoyable. Stay informed and entertained, for free.
Your information is secure and your privacy is protected. By opting in you agree to receive emails from us. Remember that you can opt-out any time, we hate spam too!



Lowering VAT charges on fuel may be politically attractive but is not good news for those who will struggle the most, say leading tax...


An estimated 3 per cent of the workforce was signed off in late December and a fifth of businesses reported increased cancellations amid the...


Mark Zuckerberg could be forced to pay most British Facebook users about £50 each if a landmark legal action alleging that the site abused...


France has reopened its borders to British tourists after ministers in Paris eased restrictions on non-essential travel. From this morning, Britons travelling to the...


People struck down with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus are buying so much paracetamol that supplies are running low in many shops. Official...


Covid Passports are to be abandoned within days after Sajid Javid effectively killed off the policy. The health secretary has concluded that Covid-19 certification...

You May Also Like


Having a good Instagram marketing agency to back up your Instagram account is an absolute must going into the new year. With competition stronger...


Ivermectin, an existing drug against parasites including head lice, has had a checkered history when it comes to treating COVID-19. The bulk of studies...


Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder in the global population. Therefore, it is a problem that many people suffer or have suffered throughout...


As a traditionally rigid insurance industry becomes bogged down by antiquated processes and operations, a handful of industry leaders are seeking to shake things...

Disclaimer:, its managers, its employees, and assigns (collectively "The Company") do not make any guarantee or warranty about what is advertised above. Information provided by this website is for research purposes only and should not be considered as personalized financial advice. The Company is not affiliated with, nor does it receive compensation from, any specific security. The Company is not registered or licensed by any governing body in any jurisdiction to give investing advice or provide investment recommendation. Any investments recommended here should be taken into consideration only after consulting with your investment advisor and after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Copyright © 2021 SmartRetirementReport. All Rights Reserved.