The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Cargo Ship Sailors Stuck at Sea

Nov 8, 2021

Hundreds of sailors on cargo ships now floating off Southern California have been stuck on these ships for months, some even more than a year. Most of these sailors are unable to get vaccinated and therefore are not allowed to disembark their ship. And they are unable to return home.

Currently, about 300,000 sailors have been stranded on vessels at sea or in ports around the world for the last year. They live in cramped quarters and only have access to a few dozen shipmates. They live on a food budget that amounts to $7.50 per person per day. Some earn wages as low as $460 a month. Their unions and charity groups describe these sailors’ exhaustion, despair, and suicidal tendencies. The possibility of getting sick with COVID-19 further intensified these sailors’ stress.

Meanwhile, for the capitalist class that controls and owns the shipping companies, this shipping crisis has been an enormous opportunity to gouge the public and fatten its profits. Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company, recently reported a profit of $5.44 billion for the September quarter, which was higher than Amazon and UPS combined. These companies and their profiteers enjoy their life with impunity.

The poorly paid, miserably treated workforce of the shipping industry is the moving force of the global economy. They move 90% of global trade, worth $14 trillion. Without their work, the world’s economy would come to a screeching stop.

Those who labor to move the goods of the world should own the fruits of their labor. Society needs them! Not the parasites exploiting their labor and the world population to enrich their own bank accounts.