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Seasonal cheer for crew of stranded ship

HELPING HAND ... Chloe Robson, of the TS Collingwood Sea Cadets with a crew member on the Donald Duckling, below.

HELPING HAND ... Chloe Robson, of the TS Collingwood Sea Cadets with a crew member on the Donald Duckling, below.

STRANDED seamen will be on the crest of a wave this Christmas now fellow seafarers have sailed to their rescue.

The Donald Duckling bulk carrier has been stranded at the Port of Tyne in South Shields for more than a month.

Crew members aboard the Panama-registered vessel were so poorly fed they were forced to fish off the side of the vessel and burn loose wood on its deck to cook their food.

Because of the poor conditions on board, the ship has been detained at the port by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

The 18-strong crew, mostly Filipinos, have been left in limbo, unsure about when they will be able to return back to their homeland, where many had loved ones left devastated by last month’s deadly Typhoon Haiyan.

And with Christmas fast approaching, it seems increasingly likely they will remain in South Tyneside over the festive period.

With that in mind, members of the TS Collingwood Sea Cadets in South Shields have stepped into the breach and presented the crew with a Christmas hamper full of food and clothing to help get them through the coming days.

Meanwhile, the owner of the DFDS Princess Seaways ferry has offered to provide a slap-up meal for the stranded crew on Christmas Day.

Diane Erskine, manager at the Mission to Seafarers in South Shields, has also been offering her support to the crew.

She said: “They came along to the mission, and we gave them some of the clothes which have been donated, and they were really thankful for the hamper.

“It was a lovely gesture from one group of seafarers to another.

“The crew on the Donald Duckling still remain hopeful of getting home for Christmas, but it’s going to be difficult to get flights at this stage.

“They are grateful for the offer of a meal on Christmas Day, but I think they are very proud, and they don’t want to feel like the poor relations, and we’ll just have to see how many take up the offer.

“Alternatively, we can provide food for them on the vessel itself.”

The Donald Duckling has officially been declared an abandoned vessel after its owner, Taiwan’s TMT Shipping, failed to provide the crew with food, water, heat or lighting – or pay their wages.

Bosses at the BT headquarters at Harton Staithes in South Shields have also come to the aid of the crew, donating a television, and the fishing vessel The Success has been dropping off freshly-caught lobsters and crabs and Asda in South Shields donated 20kg of rice.

Twitter: @shieldsgazpaul

 

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