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Cargo ship detained at Portland fails safety inspection
A CARGO ship detained at Portland Port for more than eight months has failed a safety inspection.
The stranded Westwind II will only be able to leave once it passes the safety test after months spent under arrest by the Admiralty Marshall.
It was detained due to a damages claim after it ran aground and caused disruption to a nearby mussels and oyster farm.
Around US $80,000 – £51,700 – in unpaid wages is owed to five sailors, from Turkey and Georgia, who were told they would not be paid if they were to leave the ship.
A court hearing was told that the ship was to be sold for £500,000 and its stranded crew is to be paid from the proceeds.
Officials from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) inspected the vessel, but found it still needs to address a number of deficiencies.
Only one of the stranded crewmen remains on board the vessel.
Following the hearing at the Admiralty, Commercial and London Mercantile Court, crew members Asim Aktay and Calcan Erkan returned home to their families last month.
Last week Jambuli Phartenadze and Mirza Azandze returned to Georgia leaving chief engineer Mustafa Sagtol on board to familiarise the new crew with the ship.
Some of the men have been away from their families for a year and half.
Stranded crew members were given money from local charitable organisations to be able to fly home.
Charities the Apostleship of the Sea and the Sailors’ Society stepped in to help the men when the vessel was de-arrested and re-arrested again. The Portland Seafarers Support Group was formed as a local co-ordinator for the marine welfare organisations.
These charities have provided support for the men, who have been given food, water and fuel by the Admiralty.
Mark Kemmis-Betty, of the Apostleship of the Sea charity, said: “We received grants of £1,000 and £500 respectively from The Court Leet and the Salisbury Diocesan Fund.
“We were able to present £500 each to the remaining Turk and two Georgians together with our prayers and wishes.
“The crew members will get all their pay but it is going to take time so the Portland Seafarers Support Group has been able to send the last three crew members home with money.”
The ship has been sold to an Egyptian buyer and renamed the Milano Sky.
Mr Sagtol will sail with the new crew to Ipswich and then also be able to return home.
CAPITAL DAY OUT FOR DUO
TWO grateful crew members had a day out in London before they flew home, thanks to the Sailors’ Society.
Chaplain Mike Chittenden and the Rev David Potterton of the society stepped in to take Jambuli Phartenadze and Mirza Azandze for a day out in London.
The men had been stranded on board the Westwind II for eight months before local charitable organisations could raise the funds to fly them home.
Mr Chittenden said: “I will really miss these guys.
“They have gone through so much.
“We took them to see the sights in London including Buckingham Palace and other landmarks.
“They were so grateful.
“We just wanted them to think fondly of England and those who had helped them while they were stuck here.”