On Monday, August 10th, more than 12,000 cruise crew members are still aboard ships since the coronavirus halted the industry in March, according to USA TODAY.
Many cruise workers are uncertain when they will return home. A Celebrity Cruise stateroom attendant told USA TODAY that he has been on ships for months.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended the no-sail order to the end of September.
The number is a dramatic decrease from reports in April that up to 80,000 crew members were stuck on 120 cruise ships on US waters as the country saw rapid climbs in outbreaks.
Brittany Panetta, a spokesperson for the US Coast Guard, told the outlet that they are “tracking 57 cruise ships moored, at anchor, or underway in vicinity of a US port, or with potential to arrive in a US port, with approximately 12,084 crew members.”
According to the report, the Coast Guard estimated 209 Americans on 37 ships while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted 53 people on 22 cruise ships in the US.
The numbers don’t clearly indicate how many of the cruise staff are working or just simply stuck aboard and CDC spokesperson Jason McDonald told USA TODAY that they are unsure about how many workers on these ships are “essential.” He also told the outlet that it is not clear if the 53 crew members aboard are working with the “cruise lines to be repatriated.”
McDonald told USA TODAY that the need for the workers is up to the cruise lines and that they “must complete response plans and meet certain criteria to determine whether crew members can use commercial or noncommercial transportation.”
A crew member of Celebrity Cruises from Mauritius told the outlet that he has been on cruise ships for months and is uncertain when he will be able to return home.
“The more time passes by and the more (stressful) it gets,” Akash Dookhun told USA TODAY.
“On cruise ships, passengers and crew share spaces that are more crowded than most urban settings,” the agency said in the order displayed on its website. “Even when only essential crew are on board, ongoing spread of COVID-19 still occurs.”