Travel giant TUI Cruises has kept nearly 3,000 crew members quarantined on a ship in Cuxhaven in northern Germany. DW spoke to several of them, who complained of payment issues, health risks and lack of communication.
It has been several weeks since the 2,900 crew members on board the cruise ship Mein Schiff 3 have seen anybody from the outside world. “Life is really boring, the best I can compare it with is a prison,” one male crew member summarizes for DW. “The crew is visibly unhappy.”
That unhappiness is also visible on parts of the ship. Pictures show holes in the reception area’s ceiling and front desk and a crack on the plastic screen placed in front of staff, where individuals lashed out in frustration. DW has seen a video of one frustrated member of staff kicking over objects in the reception area. According to the Cuxhaven police, officers attended the ship on May 2.
Multiple people on the ship say the atmosphere now is calmer, and the boat’s operator, TUI Cruises, has been arranging for more workers to leave. But many of them are still left wondering why they were stuck on the ship with frustration building for so long. TUI told DW in a statement that shifting circumstances because of COVID-19 had changed their evacuation plans and sometimes slowed information channels.
Stranded on board
COVID-19 stopped German holiday giant TUI cruises in its tracks. After sending all passengers on its vessels home by March 23, the company brought the crew members from several ships together on Mein Schiff 3, with the idea of moving them all to Germany from where the company would repatriate them.