Feels like prison: Seafarers stuck on board due to Covid-19

Filipino seamen on board a 22,000-tonne tanker. More than 400,000 seafarers around the world have had to remain on board their ships for about a year or longer because of the coronavirus pandemic. Singapore doctor Charles Johnson (in red T-shirt), me
Singapore doctor Charles Johnson (in red T-shirt), medical director and flight physician at Hope Medflight Asia, examining the crew of a fishing vessel in the outer port limits of Singapore.ST PHOTO: ZAIHAN MOHAMED
Filipino seamen on board a 22,000-tonne tanker. More than 400,000 seafarers around the world have had to remain on board their ships for about a year or longer because of the coronavirus pandemic. Singapore doctor Charles Johnson (in red T-shirt), me
Dr Johnson examining a member of a fishing vessel's crew. He certifies a ship's crew as medically fit and Covid-free before they are allowed to enter Singapore to take their flights home.ST PHOTO: ZAIHAN MOHAMED

MANILA/SINGAPORE - Mr Chris Moises Canaveral, a third mate on board a 22,000-tonne tanker, has not stepped on land in 10 months. He expects to still be out at sea come Christmas and New Year.

He said he is used to it. He first set foot on a merchant ship 10 years ago, when he was 26. Since then, he has been home to celebrate Christmas with his family just four times. "It's hard, but we're seamen. We're used to isolation and solitude," he said.

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