Crew of the MT Faro freed in Lagos Nigeria

The 11-strong crew of the MT Maro were released in July this after being held for two years in Nigeria. The Revd Thami Tembe, of The Mission to Seafarers in Durban and the Revd Boet van Schalkwyk, a chaplain for Sailors’ Society, had been working with the National Seafarers’ Welfare Board of Nigeria (NSWBN) and offering their support to the seafarers.

The ruling was made on June 30 and, after securing emergency travel documents, the crew arrived in Delhi, India on July 3 to be reunited with their families. The seafarers’ ordeal began in July 2014 when the ship’s engine failed and it drifted into a stretch of Nigerian waters. The ship was arrested and accused of straying into Nigerian waters without permissions. The Indian crew, with a Nigerian captain, found themselves imprisoned and there began a series of court battles to prove their innocence.

Boet and Thami were given the go-ahead to visit the prisoners and were able to offer welfare support and counseling. It was the first interaction the crew had had with the outside world since their arrest.

Revd Thami said; "We worked together to bring friendship and hope to these men. It was a terrifying and protracted ordeal for the whole crew."