Dude Stranded Alone On Ghost Ship For Four Years Is Our Pandemic Spirit Animal

Being the sole occupant of a giant ship may sound like the premise to a fantastic ’80s party movie, but according to Mohammed Aisha, the reality is pretty grim. Especially when you find out there’s not a cold keg or bikini-clad woman in sight.

The nightmare began in 2017 when the MV Aman was stopped by Egyptian authorities for having expired safety certificates. When word got around that the ship’s owners had refused to pay the fine, the captain quickly jumped ship, leading the courts to name Aisha the legal guardian of the 4,000-ton vessel. With Egyptian authorities holding Aisha’s passport and threatening to jail him if he disembarked, the ship became his prison.

To make matters worse, the contractors who abandoned the ship didn’t gas it up (dick move), so Aisha was literally stranded with no power and no way to reach port. Ships would pass by during the day but were too far away to make contact. And at night, it felt like a ghost ship.

“You can’t see anything. You can’t hear anything,” he said. “It’s like you’re in a coffin.”

For years, the loneliness and sheer disregard for his existence nearly drove Aisha mad. He missed birthdays, holidays, the death of his mother. Occasionally, his brother (a fellow sailor) would pass by en route to the Suez Canal but they were too far apart to even wave. Talk about social distancing.

“I seriously considered ending my life,” Aisha said.

One night, at the start of the pandemic, a wild storm tore the MV Aman off its moorings and ran the ship aground. It turned out to be his saving grace. With land in sight, Aisha was able to swim ashore every few days to get food, water, and a fresh charge for his phone.

With his phone charged, he was able to record a video of life aboard the ghost ship. That video ended up bringing attention to his plight. And now, thanks to a global union for sailors, Aisha is no longer holding the bag of someone else’s screw-up.

His endurance in the face of staggering isolation and psychological, emotional, and spiritual dismay is awe-inspiring. Mohammed Aisha is our pandemic spirit animal. We only hope our own sweet relief comes soon so we can get back to doing what we do best: Getting drunk in public. Because getting drunk alone in the bowels of our own personal ghost ship just isn’t what it used to be.

Cover Photo: Mosaed Ali / EyeEm (Getty Images)

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