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4 Oct, 2009 21:44

Russian sailors stranded in Panama

Eleven Russian sailors are stranded in the Panama Canal and running out of vital supplies onboard their cargo ship, the “Piruit.”

The ship was damaged when it grounded while passing through the canal in April this year. Its owner was unable to pay for the repair work to allow the boat to continue.

The Panamanian authorities have now seized the vessel due to debts owed. The crew has no money or permits to enable them to leave the ship.

“The situation is terrible,” the ship’s captain told RT. “For two months the ship’s crew has been short of food, water and fuel. We have to gather rain water for cooking and drinking.”

“We're carrying lots of wood. So, we saw it and use it make a fire to cook food. The crew members haven’t been paid for 6 months and some for 8,” he added.

“The International Transport Workers' Federation has helped us out a bit with food,” the captain said. “The Russian Embassy has helped as well, but their resources are limited. They told us all they could do was send us back to Russia – to Moscow or may be even Vladivostok. It’s still not clear at the moment. In any case, this will not be a solution, because we have families back home – and they are starving.”