For cargo ship crew, a lonely and risky life

Story highlights

  • 33 people aboard the ship El Faro, presumed lost near the Bahamas, are missing and might be dead
  • Rose George: We should value the 1.5 million seafarers who risk their lives to bring us the goods

Rose George is the author of "Ninety Percent of Everything: Inside Shipping, the Invisible Industry That Puts Clothes on Your Back, Gas in Your Car, and Food on Your Plate." She lives in Yorkshire, England. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN)Every day, they come and go, unheralded, required, ignored: 100,000 or so working ships traveling the seas, carrying 90% of world trade. Our goods, necessities, fripperies: all still come by ship, although most people think of the sea as something to be flown over, and though the average consumer pays seafarers no mind, until they arrive in our newspaper or TV headlines as casualties, such as the 33 people of El Faro, presumed lost near the Bahamas when Hurricane Joaquin sw