The seafarers who were stuck on board their bulk carrier anchored near the port of Kherson for a month and a half have sincerely thanked the Seafarers' Union of Russia and its Chairman, Yury Sukhorukov, for the assistance in repatriation. “We express our sincere gratitude for the help you have given us during this difficult period,” - they wrote, - “You helped us leave the ship and safely arrive in Russia,you gave us your full support and you always were in touch with our embassy, our shipowner and us, you called us several times daily until we got home. Thanks you!"
In total, 14 crew members — Egyptians, a Syrian and a Lebanese — faced a difficult situation. They were forced to stay on board the vessel anchored near the port of Kherson for 45 days/ M/v Rek Noble arrived at the port for loading grain shortly before the start of a special operation in Ukraine. When firings began the crew raised the alarm: they contacted the shipowner, and then the embassy hoping their vessel would be able to leave the port.
However, the situation was aggravated by the fact that, according to the crew members, the Dnieper was subsequently mined, and Rek Noble could not leave the port.
Meanwhile, the problems with supply have emerged. Although there was enough food, they had to spare, and the water on board ran out: the crew had to use overboard water from the Dnieper for drinking and domestic needs. Neither the agent not the shipowner could help with supplying the vessel due to the current situation in Kherson. However, the employer did not lose touch with the crew while they were stucking on board: he stayed in contact with them and paid wages for March on time.
Desperate that the issue of repatriation was not getting off the ground, the crew members turned to the International Transport Workers' Federation and the SUR. And only with the intervention of the trade union the issue was finally resolved.
According to Yury Sukhorukov, after receiving a request from the crews the SUR immediately contacted authorities that could render them assistance, including the embassies of Lebanon and Egypt. The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation contributed a lot in successful repatriation of the crew. Through it's participation , the crew were allowed to leave the ship and were delivered to the shore on the 6th of April. Also, the Ministry of Defense arranged the safe transportation of seafarers from Kherson to Crimea.
On April 7, the crew members arrived in Simferopol and stayed at the hotel, the accommodation of the seafarers was provided by the Lebanese embassy. Part of the crew was repatriated to Moscow. The Egyptian embassy paid the tickets from Sochi to Cairo for Egyptian seafarers. The SUR asked the fraternal Maritime Transport Workers' Trade Union of the Republic of Crimea to arrange their transportation.
Irina Chernenko, Chairman of the Maritime Transport Workers' Trade Union of the Republic of Crimea organized the delivery of Egyptian seafarers on a comfortable bus from Simferopol to Sochi. The translator Olesya Makarova accompanied them all the way: she helped the crew until they boarded the plane and, as time has made clear, the seafarers simply would not have left Russia that day without her assistance
The costs of the crew's trip to Sochi were taken by the Egyptian embassy. On the early morning of the 13th of April the seafarers set off: they covered more than 700 km of a winding route in 14 hours.
There were some surprises on their way: for example, near the village of Lermontovo, on the way to Tuapse, the bus was stopped by the traffic police. It took almost an hour to check documents, ask the seafarers questions and make calls to various departments.
Upon arrival at the airport the crew members faced difficulties with checking in for the flight due to missing PCR tests. The seafarers had no cash, so the SUR took over the payment for the tests. The accompanying translator contributed a lot to address this issue and help the seafarers to check in for the flight.
“The SUR expresses special gratitude to the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation,” Yury Sukhorukov emphasized. “It took time to receive the test results and subsequent checking on for a flight, so when it became clear that the seafarers could be late for the flight, the Ministry stepped in and guaranteed the flight delay until the crew members boarded.”
Eventually, all the procedures were successfully completed, the seafarers boarded the plane and flew to Cairo at 22:38. Now they have all arrived at their country and have gone home.