The Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) welcomes the repatriation of the stranded crew of the Donald Duckling, a ship detained in the River Tyne for the past seven weeks.
The seafarers’ welfare organization has been providing practical support to the crew of the vessel since it was arrested on November 12 last year. Apart from the ship’s captain and its chief engineer, all the crew - including 11 Filipino crewmembers who flew home on the afternoon of January 9 - have now gone back home.
“There were mixed emotions. Obviously, the crew are delighted to be going home to their families but they have yet to receive their outstanding wages,” AoS Tyne port chaplain Paul Atkinson said. He added AoS was also able to secure free passage home for the ship’s Romanian captain, who is expected to be repatriated next week.
The ship’s Filipino crew were paid for October and November and partially paid for December, as were the Romanian crew. The Donald Duckling arrived at Tyne Port with 15 days’ worth of provisions, but faulty refrigeration meant that this lasted only two to three days.
Since then AoS and other port-based agencies have been providing food and drinking water to the crew with the help of the local community, who have been very supportive. “We will continue to assist the remaining crew in any way we can until all are safely repatriated,” said Atkinson.