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For Stranded Cruise Line Workers, a Heavy Toll

Bloomberg reports on at least 6 suspected suicides amid the pandemic
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2021 2:50 PM CST

(Newser) – Lots of people can relate these days to the misfortune of being stuck at home and unable to move around much because of the pandemic. But a story at Bloomberg takes a look at a small group of people for whom the issue is especially pronounced: Workers on cruise ships. Cruise lines were able to get passengers off, but that wasn't always the case for crew members. "Separated from families, confined mostly to tiny cabins, with no obvious legal recourse and at times no pay, sailors experienced a more extreme version of the household lockdowns that have sent people tumbling into depression," writes Austin Carr. And the worst ramification of that: The story counts at least six suspected suicides among staffers of various cruise lines during the pandemic.

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“How would you feel if you were confined to a windowless cell and could only go out once or twice a day?” asks Vilmos Szaller of Hungary. Szaller, however, isn't speaking of himself. He's referring to his 28-year-old son Jozsef, who worked on a Carnival ship and was found dead in his cabin in May after apparently hanging himself. A doctor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center tells Carr that being stuck on a ship with no end in sight "checks all the boxes" for mental anguish. The story includes comments from cruise line representatives saying they're doing their best in a near-impossible situation and citing travel safety protocols that have made it difficult to send employees home to far-flung locales around the world. (Read the full story. The National Suicide Prevention hotline is 800-273-8255.)

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