Kiwi fisheries observer's seven-week trip turns into seven-month ordeal during Covid crisis

The Covid crisis has left more than 300,000 maritime workers across the world stranded, including a Kiwi fisheries oberver whose seven-week trip earlier this year turned into a seven-month-long ordeal.

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Kiwi fisheries observer Geoff Dolan was among them, a seven-week trip earlier this year turning into seven months. Source: 1 NEWS

Geoff Dolan was away in the Falkland Islands when Covid struck, forcing him to break a record for longest time at sea for a Ministry for Primary Industries observer.

Dolan has since returned home.

"I'm feeling good, it's really good to be back home," he said. "Looking forward to just being able to walk long distances."

His more than 200-day journey involved three ships, from Timaru, to the Falklands, then to the South Sandwich and South Georgia Islands, before finally going back to Lyttelton.

He spent just two days on land, in the Falkland's capital, Stanley.

"The hardest part of it is just not letting it depress you or not getting focused too much on how long you're going to be there."

The trip included a stint as an observer on a British vessel with an international crew.

"We all just spoke our own languages and yelled it a bit 'til the other person understood," he said.

The United Nations fears a humanitarian crisis after Covid-19 stranded around 300,000 mariners across the world. It has since called on Governments to help repatriate exhausted seafarers and replace them with fresh crews.

"On the boat I'm on, quite a few of the crew had been on there since last October and probably won't get home until February at the earliest. I got off pretty lightly. I'm lucky I had work."