Ship's Crew Trapped Since April Finally Going Home

'A shameful story of crew neglect'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 9, 2016 2:44 PM CDT
Crew members receive supplies hoisted to the Newlead Castellano. The crew has been stuck on the cargo ship for four months.   (AP Photo/Lewis M. Levine)
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(Newser) – Fifteen crew members stuck aboard a cargo ship anchored off the coast of Savannah, Ga., for four months will soon be going home, the AP reports. According to NPR, the Newlead Castellano—owned by NewLead Holdings in Greece—was seized by US marshals in April over unpaid loans. Attorney Todd Baiad says it's "similar in concept" to a foreclosed home, except, "you know, you've got crew members." The mostly Filipino crew, which had been delivering sugar to the US, lacked the proper paperwork to enter the US and so were stuck aboard the ship, Splash 24/7 reports. It calls the situation a "shameful story of crew neglect."

But things apparently weren't all that bad. The crew, who hadn't been paid in two months, started getting wages again when the ship was seized. They also received regular shipments of food and water. Baiad tells WABE they seemed to be in "good spirits." “Would I want to be stuck on that ship since April? No. But I think it's something they’re probably a little bit more accustomed to," says Baiad, who even brought a priest to the ship to perform Mass. The Newlead Castellano was auctioned off Monday to a Connecticut-based company. The crew is expected to be able to fly home in the next week or two. "At this point, they haven't been on land in quite a while," the president of National Maritime Services tells NPR. "I think they'll be happy to go home." (Read more cargo ships stories.)

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