International maritime union Nautilus has been providing advice and assistance to four British officer trainees who have been stranded onboard one of the container ships caught up in the collapse of the South Korean shipping company Hanjin Shipping.
The four cadets are among an estimated 2,500 seafarers who have been unable to leave their ships while they have remained in international waters to avoid arrest by creditors.
Three of the cadets joined the Liberia-flagged Hanjin Louisiana in May and were due to leave the 40,855gt vessel on 2 September.
Nautilus has been liaising between the cadets, the training providers, the shipping company, Liberian flag state authorities and the UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency to help secure arrangements for the trainees to be taken off the ship.
The union has also worked with Inverness MP Drew Hendry to bring the case to the attention of government ministers.
”These young cadets cannot be expected to be adrift while all this plays out in the courts,” Hendry said.
”The time has come for the UK government to say enough is enough — it is vital that every effort is made to protect these students and other affected seafarers from the nations of the UK.”
Nautilus national secretary Jonathan Havard said the union is seeking to ensure the cadets are able to return home as soon as possible.
”They have been placed in an appalling situation through no fault of their own, and we are doing everything we can to get them repatriated so that they can get back to their families and then resume their studies,” Havard said
”The fact that they are all determined to continue their training shows their deep commitment and we are hugely impressed by their mature and sensible response to the events they have been caught up in.”