Seafarers who have been held in Soyo, Angola, for the past three months due to accusations of the alleged theft of fuel were cleared of all charges on June 15 and are now free to go home.
When contacted, trade union Nautilus said it is still awaiting the confirmation that the six seafarers have been released.
“A judge has ruled that there is insufficient evidence to lay any charges. The crew should now be free to return pending the payment of some court fees which should be paid by the company,” a representative of Nautilus told World Maritime News.
Separately, the Seafarers’ Union of Croatia informed that two Croatian seafarers, Duško Jelača and Vanja Maričić, have been freed and will be soon returning home.
The Croatian seafarers can now leave Soyo after paying certain court fees and obtaining exit visas, Predrag Brazzoduro, President of Seafarers’ Union of Croatia, was cited by local news agency Index as saying.
The crew members of the offshore support vessel Sutton Tide detained in the Port of Soyo including Croatian, Filipino, Russian and Ukrainian nationals were held in the country since March 5.
Yesterday, the maritime trade union voiced its concern over the treatment of the crew.
As explained by Nautilus, the seafarers had not “the right to independent legal advice and representation” and were not given “adequate information about the basis on which the investigation is being conducted.”
According to Nautilus, the crew members had to sign documents which were not in their own language and the Vanuatu-flagged ship was searched under duress, without giving any explanations to them.
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