WAGES have finally been paid to the crew of a merchant vessel left stranded in Shoreham Harbour for 16 months.
The outstanding money, amounting to £61,282 in total, has now been handed over, bringing to an end the saga of the MV Independent.
Seafarers’ charity Apostleship of the Sea (AoS), which assisted the captain, Mikhail Polyakov, and his crew while they were in Shoreham, has welcomed the ‘satisfactory end’ to their plight.
The charity provided food and aid to both the MV Independent and the MV Torrent in Rye after both ships were arrested in January last year.
The MV Independent finally left Shoreham in May, by which time only Mr Polyakov was left on board.
However, a total of 12 crew members, from Ukraine and Russia, were awaiting unpaid salary.
The Rev Roger Stone, AoS port chaplain for Shoreham, said: “At last, this long-running saga has been brought to an end and the seafarers have received the money that was rightfully theirs.”
He and his team of ship visiting volunteers provided practical and pastoral support to the seafarers, who were left in limbo when the shipping company they worked for fell into financial difficulties.
Mr Stone said they stepped in to assist the men by raising emergency funds for the crew to send home and by providing food, internet access and phone cards, so they could contact their anxious families.
“Above all, AoS was able to offer the seafarers hope as they were left vulnerable and worried about their futures and that of their families during a very stressful time.”
The charity raised the issue of the plight of the men and the assistance its volunteers was providing, helping to highlight the story in the national press and television, as well as in the Shoreham Herald.
Overall, the Catholic charity provides both practical and pastoral support to seafarers in more than 40 ports around the UK and 250 ports worldwide.
The charity said more than 100,000 ships visited British ports each year but the life of a modern seafarer could be dangerous and lonely, with harsh working conditions. Visit www.apostleshipofthesea.org.uk for more information about the charity and its work.