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Cruise ships aren’t so cruisy for the crew

Cruise ships have been on all of our minds here at ISS in the last few weeks after the Diamond Princess Cruise in Japan was the first in a wave of vessels exporting coronavirus (COVID-19) throughout the world.

One of the troubling aspects that caught our attention about this case was the experiences of the crew on this ship. While everyone was supposed to be quarantined, the crew had to continue working. They ate at a communal mess hall, shared bathrooms, and visited guests’ rooms all while many of them were sick.

While this may seem like an unfortunate isolated incident, this is part of a larger pattern of the exploitation of cruise ship workers. The nature of their contracts, which usually last for six months to a year and allow for zero days off, mean that employees often fear retribution and tend to soldier through illnesses, fatigue, and other issues. This attitude can be dangerous for both the crew and the passengers.

You can read more about the conditions on the ship and the experience of employees in this Guardian article:

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/mar/06/inside-the-cruise-ship-that-became-a-coronavirus-breeding-ground-diamond-princess

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