Several cruise majors have begun to use their own cruiseships to repatriate non-essential crew stranded on board idled vessels.

That these ships are set to make extended voyages from the US and Europe to Asia indicates that companies foresee bleak prospects of a resumption of trading in the forthcoming months.

Cruise industry sources said a small armada of cruiseships is heading to Asia to repatriate crew back to the Philippines and Indonesia. Most of those being repatriated are employed at the hotel departments on board the ships and are not needed without passengers.