Satellite images have revealed fleets of empty cruise liners clustering together at sea because they are unable to drop anchor at ports.
Since the coronavirus pandemic began, few industries have been hit hard harder than the cruise industry.
The ships are viewed as floating petri dishes and, while passengers are no longer on them, several crew members still are.
Now, with no incoming bookings and unable to dock, many have taken to huddling together in the Atlantic, the Caribbean and the South China Sea to get out of the way of major shipping lanes.
Satellite images have revealed empty cruise ships huddling together to get out of the way of major shipping lanes.
Three groups of cruise ships, with 15 in total, are clustered together off Coco Cay and Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas.
Because there are not enough traditional berths to accommodate cruise ships, many have been forced out to sea.
Two ports, Coco Cay and Great Stirrup Cay, in the Bahamas where Royal Caribbean ship and Norwegian cruise liners, are storing vessels.
The ships are in three groups – 15 in total – that are about 30 miles apart from each other.
They have names such as Harmony of the Seas, Celebrity Edge and Azamara Pursuit.
There are also at least 12 cruise ships, such as the MV Ruby Princess, that are sitting just off the coast of the Philippines.
The Philippines Coast Guard says the cruise liners have to wait for clearance from the Bureau of Quarantine before they dock in Manila.
There are currently no passengers aboard the cruise liners, but many crew members are still onboard.
There are more than 57,000 crew members aboard 74 cruise ships in and around US ports, the Bahamas and the Caribbean.
About a dozen cruise liners, such as the Ruby Princess, have been sitting off the coast of the Philippines
Hundreds are more are stuck around the world and, because the ships can’t dock, they are unable to get home.
Alex Adkins, a senior stage technician on Freedom of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean ship, says he has been at sea since mid-March when last guests disembarked
‘Since then, we’ve had no guests and we’ve just been floating off the coast of Barbados,’ Adkins, an American, told CNN.
Employees said they don’t understand why they aren’t free to leave ships if they’ve cleared 14-day quarantines.
‘I’m hoping we don’t get forgotten about, to be honest,’ MaShawn Morton, an employee for Princess Cruises, told CNN.
‘It seems like nobody cares what’s happening to us out here.’
Carnival Cruise Line says it plans to resume some operations in August, but Norwegian Cruise Line says there is ‘substantial doubt’ about its future.
‘We believe the ongoing effects of COVID-19 on our operations and global bookings have had, and will continue to have, a significant impact on our financial results and liquidity, and such negative impact may continue well beyond the containment of such an outbreak,’ the company’s filing on Tuesday.
This is not the first time cruise ships have been pictured cloistered together.
Last week, cruise liners and cargo ships were forced to drop anchor off the Isle of Wight, in England, to avoid busy shipping lanes.
A spokesman for the UK’s Department for Transport that certain ships have been given higher priority due to the crisis and cruise liners are currently low priority as they are not carrying any passengers.