COVID-19 at sea: ‘the world as you know it no longer exists’

This is an article of our former shipmate Christiaan De Beukelaer reflecting the challenging experiences of seafarers during the COVID-19 pandemic:

“The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has impacted virtually everyone on the planet. But the impacts have been diverse and uneven. In this article, I reflect on the plight of seafarers during the pandemic. I suggest that being ‘locked in’ is intrinsic to life at sea, as one can’t simply leave a ship. What makes the experience of the pandemic so challenging at sea is being ‘locked out’ of land. With border closures prohibiting ‘crew change’, many seafarers have been forced to extend their contracts, stay aboard, and postpone going home for long and often undefined periods of time. My article combines a reflexive personal narrative of being confined to a ship at sea for five months, while being excluded from land, with the question of how spending the pandemic at sea could be understood in relation to maritime labour. ”

COVID 19 at sea the world as you know it no longer exists