It has been eight weeks since the container ship “Daili” crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore. The crew is still stuck on the ship – with no hope of returning home soon.

At the end of March, the ship crashed into the bridge, which then collapsed, killing six people. Since then, the 289 meter long ship has been stuck under the rubble of the bridge – and with it the ship’s 21-member crew.

Last week, parts of the remains of the bridge were blown up and the ship was freed and entered the port of the US city of Baltimore. But it is currently unclear when the 21 men on board, 20 of whom come from India and one from Sri Lanka. So far, visa restrictions, a lack of required land passports and an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the FBI have meant that the crew has had to remain on board the ship, reports the BBC.

In addition, the crew’s phones were confiscated by investigators. “They’re really isolated right now,” said Joshua Messick, executive director of the Baltimore Seafarers Center, a nonprofit organization that works to protect seafarers’ rights. “They just can’t reach the people they need or look at pictures of their children before they go to sleep. It’s really a sad situation.” There are also very practical problems: “You can’t do online banking. They can’t pay their bills at home. They don’t have any of their details or contact information from anyone.”

But according to international maritime rules, a ship must remain manned at all times. “You are part of the ship. They are necessary to keep the ship staffed and operational,” said a US Coast Guard admiral, Shannon Gilreath.

The two unions representing them, the Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union and the Singapore Organization of Seamen, also commented on the plight of the seafarers. A statement said “morale has understandably fallen” due to “unfounded fear of personal criminal liability” and emotional distress.

The unions are calling for the “quick return” of crews’ phones, noting that the loss of communication with family members “causes significant distress for crew members with young children at home.”

But even the container ship’s management company gives sailors little hope: a spokesman said he was unable to provide a timetable for the crew’s return. In addition to the investigation, it should also be noted that “no one knows the ship better than they do.”

A preliminary accident investigation report stated that two power outages had paralyzed the ship before the incident and that it had already lost power twice in the 10 hours before the accident.

Six men were killed in the accident. The victims were construction workers of Latin American origin who were carrying out repairs on the bridge at the time of the accident. Over the past few weeks, recovery teams had gradually found the bodies of the missing people.

The ship’s crew had made an emergency call that day before the collision with the bridge pillar, which probably saved lives – because officers on land then stopped traffic and prevented more cars from getting onto the bridge.