Civilian Mariners Say Strict Navy Coronavirus Restrictions Are Unfair

The Navy has ordered members of its Military Sealift Command — a group of civilian mariners who supply military vessels around the world — to stay on their ships in an effort to prevent outbreaks of the coronavirus. A “gangway up” order enforcing the lock-down was issued on March 21. But more than 20 civilian mariners from ships on missions or in ports and naval bases around the world told NPR it’s an overly harsh move, undercut by another decision to allow others — including Navy personnel and outside contractors — to come and go on the ships. The lock down only applies to civilian mariners. A similar order was not made for the Navy’s military personnel. Even when a ship is docked and on a Navy base, the civilian mariners, known as CIVMARS, say they can’t leave to see family or go to previously planned medical appointments, and they say there isn’t enough personal protective equipment to go around. “I feel like a prisoner,” says one man who can’t leave a docked ship to go to his house

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Author: WGCU Public Media