Day of the Seafarer 2020: Crew change is it!
Female Nigerian seafarer, Uche Okoronkwo, like thousands of seafarers around the world would be celebrating the 2020 Day of the Seafarer away on board a ship and away from loved ones.
But, that is not the problem really. The problem is that so many seafarers have over-stayed their contract periods, yet could not disembark from the vessels as result of the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. And they want to go home!
In a virtual meeting today, Miss Okowonkwo, a third engineer on board a ship, shared her experience thus far as she prepares to go back home to her loved ones.
She said that by the next one week she would have stayed on board the ship for five months.
Sharing her experience, she said coping with the situation at the initial period was really difficult because, they did not know what the problem was and they thought it would be over soon.
Rather than easing off, COVID-19 hit harder and they had to start observing several new protocols to keep safe. And to this engineer’s surprise, holding the rails became ‘not safe’ a practice that was traditionally meant to ensure safety.
Observing the social distancing within an enclosed space as a ship was difficult. But, she tells us the skills adopted to stay well and in sound mind.