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Jireh’s crew desperate to be paid so they can go home

News | Published:

THE destitute crew of the MV Jireh which was anchored in the Little Russel for 11 days have said they want to go home, and a UK-based charity has stepped in to help them.

MV Jireh at anchor off St Peter Port. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 26536122)

The Sailors’ Society, along with the Stella Maris chaplaincy team, are helping the nine Russian men after their vessel was detained in Portland Harbour.

Earlier the ship had been denied entry to St Peter Port and St Helier.

Sailors’ Society chief operating officer Sandra Welch said the men wanted to be repatriated.

‘They haven’t got any money, so we’ve given them food, a phone and wi-fi. It’s the only way they’ve been able to make contact with the outside world and let their families know they’re OK.

‘They’re safe and comfortable, but they’re anxious and desperate to be paid so that they can return home, so we’re hoping this can be resolved in the next few days.’

This type of situation is not uncommon for the charity. Its chaplains around the world are often called upon to help desperate crews who find themselves stranded thousands of miles from home.

Ms Welch said they give support and practical help to seafarers who may be facing poverty and distress.

‘Seafarers are often out of sight at sea or in ports, but we depend on them for almost everything we use and buy – most of our Black Friday goods and Christmas gifts would have been transported by sea.’

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Border Force officials, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and police all boarded the ship last week, after it was towed into Portland because of a power failure,

The vessel was found to be not compliant with merchant shipping regulations for its direction of travel, and failed to meet the MCA’s on-board living standards regulations.

It is unclear how long the ship will remain in Portland, but it will not be allowed to set sail until it is fully compliant with the regulations.

The MV Jireh had been travelling from Norway, where it operated in the fjords, to its new owners in Senegal, West Africa.

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Before arriving off Guernsey, the MV Jireh had spent a few days off the east coast of Jersey, sheltering from bad weather.

The ship was denied entry to St Helier Harbour because it did not have a shipping agent.

St Peter Port Harbour also denied entry because it did not have any suitable berths, although it did arrange for the Red Cross and the Co-op to send aboard clothes and food supplies.

When the Guernsey Press made contact with the crew they said that they were running out of provisions and morale on board was bad.

They had also not been paid for months.

Helen Bowditch

By Helen Bowditch
News reporter

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