BUCHAREST—After 40 years at sea, on his last voyage before retirement, Captain Dan Sandu slipped into his cabin on the MV Vantage Wave, a cargo ship sailing away from India, feeling unwell. “Don’t worry,” he typed in what would be a final email to his wife in April. “Everything will be fine.”
Last month, the ship, by then floating off the United Arab Emirates, sent what had become a familiar plea. Captain Sandu was dead and his body was in the ship’s walk-in freezer. For six months, it had traveled thousands of miles lying near the crew’s meat and vegetables. They needed to get him back to Romania.