Death From Sea

This morning I read of another person I called a friend who had died before 35. This is the fourth time in the last couple of years a crew member I knew personally from the cruise ship has not made it to middle age.

Perhaps fortunately, I do not know the details of any of these deaths and maybe I am simply unlucky to have been affected by the deaths of all these young people I knew but it does make me wonder how well us ‘sailors’ look after ourselves and each other.

All of these people died at home but we did have crew member deaths at sea.

  • A young lady who cut herself to pieces with her partner’s razer
  • A young man who hung himself in his cabin
  • A musician who overdosed on painkillers
  • The buffet steward who drowned in the shower
  • The engineer who ‘disappeared’ from the back of the ship

Were any of these people in crisis before they came to sea? Maybe there were existing problems they were running from. Or perhaps, is a 65 hour working week in cramped conditions part of the reason for all these young people dying?

I know from my own experience, the diagnosis of any kind of mental health problem will lead to an immediate ‘medical discharge’ which means a couple of weeks of sick pay and then no work for two years. For many people, it is not financially viable to be ill.

Oddly, being surrounded with an ever changing set of strangers is very lonely. The people at home move on without you. Missing family events like weddings, birthdays and funerals is part of the job so you end up not knowing anyone. Is this part of the reason?

Perhaps an unhealthy lifestyle is another part of the jigsaw. It is very hard to get hold of fresh vegetables but very easy to get hold of subsidised alcohol so drinking becomes a way of survival.

It would be lovely to see these cruise lines looking after crew members as people rather than interchangeable people who fill spaces but it feels like we have a long way to go yet.

One thought on “Death From Sea

  1. There are a great many employers who could do much improve their workers lives but choose not to expend the capital as it cuts into the profits. However in my humble opinion giving works who’s default setting tends to be stressed access to cheap booze is pretty irresponsible.


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