The sailors were having fun in the recreation room when someone said that a virus has been killing people in the Wuhan province of China
In January, a ship sailed out from Asia to Europe.
The sailors were having fun in the recreation room when someone said that a virus has been killing people in the Wuhan province of China.
That was when everyone on board uttered in chorus "coronavirus" - it was the first time they got acquainted with the word. A deafening silence followed.
Covid-19 was everywhere and words such as death, isolation, infection and pandemic overshadowed everything else.
The fear of the virus came spread silently, as every nook and corner of the ship fell silent. Everyone on board was researching on how to stay healthy and stave off the virus.
Days later, dreadful news came: some ships have been infected by Covid-19, including a US warship. Fear gripped the sailors, some of whom wanted to sign off from the ship.
The shipping company reassured everyone that maximum protection would be provided and crowds on ships would be reduced. By the end of February, the ship was heading for Asia, its destination was China.
The company suspended all sign off program indefinitely. All ports cancelled shore pass for going out.
PPEs arrived on the ship before the ship reached China and the protection training started. Meanwhile, many sailors were struggling with family problems.
Suddenly news came that the father of a junior officer had died. No flight arrangements were made due to the country being in lockdown and he could not see his father for the last time.
The ship arrived at the Chinese ports with frustrated sailors. Locked in a foreign land, away from family, the sailors fought to keep themselves healthy.
The wait was getting longer. The virus had gripped the lives of everyone, leaving them in such a state that the sailors forgot to smile. The first message to the family after work every day was "You stay healthy, stay home, I'm fine".