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25 Jan 2021

Nick Webster, The National (UAE)

Stranded tanker caught up in financial row runs aground on UAE coast

Crew onboard a tanker that ran aground in Umm Al Quwain are hoping that, after three-and-a-half years at sea, they will at last be able to go home.

Five merchant sailors onboard MT Iba have spent 43 months at sea – and 32 months without pay – after the tanker’s owner, Alco Shipping Services, fell into a financial crisis...

An Alco Shipping Services representative said the company would tow the vessel from the site when the weather conditions were right...

“The men were exhausted after battling wind and waves in the darkness as we drifted towards shore,” said Naywin, 51, the ship’s chief engineer.

“The sea was very rough, so it was challenging for all of us. We tried to start the engines and go back but the wind was very strong and we could not control the ship."...

On Sunday... port authorities prepared to drag her to safety...

60 kilometres south to Dubai Maritime City.

Once there, the crew will step on to dry land for the first time since 2017.

Collectively, the men are owed wages of more than $170,000, which can be paid only when the vessel is sold.

The Panamanian-flagged tanker is thought to be worth between $2 million and $4m.