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Seafarers trapped on ship for 33 months say jail threats forced them to reboard

Author: The Guardian, Published on: 11 July 2019

Seafarers who abandoned their [UAE-based Elite Way Marine Services owned] ship after being stranded at sea for almost three years say they were forced back to their boat after they were warned they faced jail. The four men... said they were told by coastguards that they faced two years in prison for leaving the vessel, the MV Tamim Aldar, and were advised to return... The Federal Transport Authority (FTA) of the UAE said no laws existed to imprison abandoned seafarers and confirmed they would not face arrest... [The men] warned the authorities they were leaving the ship... “In complete blackout, the vessel was not safe for our lives,”... the men described the harsh conditions on board, saying they had been forced to sleep outside in searing heat, at the mercy of mosquitoes and cockroaches. The men urged the UAE to “solve our issue and send us home safely”... In April, Elite Way Marine Services said they had encountered financial problems. They could not be contacted for this article.

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