Specifically, after sending a distress call, the crew was spotted by the Seychelles Marine Police who towed the ship and fishermen back to shore. The fishermen were put in police custody and were questioned due to the fact that only the captain has a valid passport on him.
Being informed of the incident on January 3, Albert Napier, Stella Maris Seychelles National Director arranged a meeting with the crew at the Coast Guard depot where they were being held.
Albert stated that he was informed by the Master that hey had left Zanzibar on December 20 to fish but started experiencing engine problems about three days later causing the ship to drift. After being rescued they were interrogated and their explanations eventually ascertained to be true.
In addition, the charity was informed that the fishing vessel’s owner wanted the crew to return to Zanzibar on the same vessel. However it was clear that the vessel was not seaworthy, and it would have been unsafe for the men to return to Zanzibar this way.
Consequently, Stella Maris will cooperate with several other government agencies and groups to obtain the necessary travel documents, secure the fishermen’s release and facilitate their repatriation, as Albert added.