Fifty-eight fatigued Egyptian seafarers are finally home after being trapped – some of them for four months - on completion of their initial two-month tour on board.
This after the company they were working for failed to repatriate them in the face of Tunisian government crew change restrictions.
But it wasn’t without a fight in which the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) played a crucial role.
Many of the crew of the five offshore support Maridive Group vessels had been trapped on board the ships off the Tunisian coast for four months - and finally made it home in late August, after receiving ITF and national union support.
It required plenty of fancy footwork.
“We had received many calls from the crew and, after some initial investigations, we began to work on the case in July as part of the ITF’s commitment to supporting seafarers get home, providing they’ve fulfilled all their contractual obligations.”
The breakthrough eventually came via Malta, where a successful crew change took place through the port of Valletta. The crew were then repatriated to Alexandria, Egypt at the end of August.
While this story had a happy ending, there at still thousands of crew who have been on board – some for longer than 11 months – who remain marooned.