Local people continue to support stranded sailors at Rye Harbour Wharf

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A LOCAL volunteer from a London based seafaring charity has provided food and knitted hats for the sailors who have been stranded at Rye Harbour since January

Ledes Duffy is a volunteer with Apostleship of the Sea, a Catholic Church organisation that supports the welfare of seafarers.

She said: “I saw the boat when it first came into the harbour as I was walking with the dog.

“I visited and brought some food, knitted hats and other resources from our church, St Anthony of Padua.”

Help from the charity is in tandem with an ongoing appeal organised by Rye and District Lions.

The Russian captain and five Ukrainian seamen have been on board the ship since it was arrested in port by the Admiralty Marshal due to an ongoing financial dispute.

The crew have not been paid since last October and had limited supplies on board.

Port Chaplain of Dover, Deacon Daniel Mulcahy, loaned the crew a laptop computer so they could contact loved ones back home.

Last week a representative from the Russian Embassy cam to Rye Harbour to meet the captain and crew.

Conrad Freezer, of Rye Lions, said: “The Lions have had a welcome response to their appeal for donations to help feed the crew and to date have received £355, including donations and offers of help from other Lions clubs in the Southeast, other organisations and the public.”

The Admiralty Marshal is a maritime court holding jurisdiction over all maritime offences including contract breaches, collisions, salvage and other financial issues.

Arrests warrants are issues for disputes such as unpaid wages and vessels are then ‘arrested’ and held in court until the claimant of the dispute reaches a satisfactory resolution with the shipping company.

Once arrested a ship cannot be moved from the port without the authority of the Marshal.

The MV Torrent at Rye Harbour is not the only vessel in Sussex to currently be in this situation.

A registered cargo ship The Independent is currently locked in Shoreham Port and has been there since January 8.

A third arrested ship at Shoreham, The Thames, is believed to be home to crew members whose contract has expired.