International Trade

Trapped at sea by coronavirus lockdowns, commercial-shipping crew members plead for help

Shipping containers are offloaded from a vessel in the Port of Antwerp, Belgium, Monday, March 23, 2020. While Belgium’s stores, schools, restaurants and bars have closed and people asked to stay home, the Port of Antwerp remains operational to maintain crucial supply chains to grocery stores and pharmacies. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo) VLM103 VLM103

An estimated 150,000 crew members with expired work contracts have been forced into continued labor aboard commercial ships worldwide to meet the demands of governments that have closed their borders and yet still want fuel, food and supplies.

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