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Sailor forced to live alone on a ghost ship in Egypt for FOUR YEARS

A sailor who was forced to live alone on a ghost ship in Egypt for four years because of red tape has finally be allowed to go home.

Mohammed Aisha boarded a plane back to Syria in Cairo on Friday, describing his elation he told the BBC: ‘How do I feel? Like I finally got out of prison. I’m finally going to be rejoined with my family. I’m going to see them again.’ 

He joined the crew of the MV Aman cargo ship in May 2017. Two months later the ship was impounded in the Egyptian port of Adabiya.

The ship’s Lebanese contractors failed to pay for fuel and the owners in Bahrain were unable to stump up the cash.

With the captain ashore, a court declared Aisha the legal guardian of the vessel and he was forced to make the 4,000-tonne container vessel his home. 

Aisha flew out of Cairo on Friday, describing his elation on the tarmac at the airport, he said: ‘How do I feel? Like I finally got out of prison. I’m finally going to be rejoined with my family. I’m going to see them again’

In March last year, a storm rocked the boat and shoved it from its mooring. Aisha was terrified for his life as the vessel drifted for miles before it eventually ran aground five miles from shore. This meant the stranded sailor was able to swim to shore, to buy food, clothes and to charge his phone. Though he risked his life every time he swam across the expanse, he believes it was an act of God which brought the ship closer to land.

In March last year, a storm rocked the boat and shoved it from its mooring. Aisha was terrified for his life as the vessel drifted for miles before it eventually ran aground five miles from shore. This meant the stranded sailor was able to swim to shore, to buy food, clothes and to charge his phone. Though he risked his life every time he swam across the expanse, he believes it was an act of God which brought the ship closer to land.

The interior of the ship which Aisha was forced to convert to his home for four years

The interior of the ship which Aisha was forced to convert to his home for four years 

Aisha said he was asked to sign papers by the authorities but wasn’t told what they meant until months later when other members of the crew began leaving the ship.

They left Aisha to a desolate existence alone aboard the colossal boat, save for the occasional guard to make sure he didn’t abscond.

He would spend his days watching as dozens of freight ships travelled through the waters, many of them heading to the Suez Canal, and he was able to witness first hand the chaos caused by the Evergreen blockage last month.

He even saw his brother, a fellow sailor, pass by on his boat several times, but could only speak with him on the phone as he went past.

Aisha said his lowest moment was when his mother died in August 2018 after he’d spent more than a year stranded.

‘I seriously considered ending my life,’ he told the BBC. 

By the following year, the Aman was out of diesel and therefore, out of power. Aisha said the boat became frighteningly dark after that.

‘You can’t see anything. You can’t hear anything,’ he said. ‘It’s like you’re in a coffin.’ 

In March last year, a storm rocked the boat and shoved it from its mooring.

Aisha was terrified for his life as the vessel drifted for miles before it eventually ran aground five miles from shore.

This meant the stranded sailor was able to swim to shore, to buy food, clothes and to charge his phone.

Aisha appealed for help while aboard the vessel and a lawyer from the International Transport Workers Federation took up his case in December

Aisha appealed for help while aboard the vessel and a lawyer from the International Transport Workers Federation took up his case in December

By August 2019, the Aman was out of diesel and therefore, out of power. Aisha said the boat became frighteningly dark after that. 'You can't see anything. You can't hear anything,' he said. 'It's like you're in a coffin.'

By August 2019, the Aman was out of diesel and therefore, out of power. Aisha said the boat became frighteningly dark after that. ‘You can’t see anything. You can’t hear anything,’ he said. ‘It’s like you’re in a coffin.’

Though he risked his life every time he swam across the expanse, he believes it was an act of God which brought the ship closer to land. 

The Aman’s owners, Tylos Shipping and Marine Services, told the BBC they tried to help Aisha but they couldn’t due to the legal red tape.

‘I can’t force a judge to remove the legal guardianship,’ a representative said. ‘And I can’t find a single person on this planet – and I’ve tried – to replace him.’

Mohamed Arrachedi of the International Transport Workers Federation took up Aisha’s case in December and helped to liberate him from the ship.

‘This drama and suffering of Mohammed Aisha could have been avoided if the owners and the parties with responsibilities and obligations to the ship had assumed their responsibilities and arranged his repatriation earlier,’ he told the BBC. 

He would spend his days watching as dozens of freight ships travelled through the waters, many of them heading to the Suez Canal, and he was able to witness first hand the chaos caused by the Evergreen blockage last month

He would spend his days watching as dozens of freight ships travelled through the waters, many of them heading to the Suez Canal, and he was able to witness first hand the chaos caused by the Evergreen blockage last month

Staggeringly Aisha’s case is not unique. 

According to the International Labour Organization, there are more than 250 cases around the world where crews have been left stranded aboard ships they do not own.

The group said that 85 new cases were reported last year, twice as many as the year before.

A crew of 19 mostly Indian sailors have been stranded off the Iranian port of Assaluyeh in the bulk carrier Ula since July 2019.

They recently told shipping journal Lloyds that the situation aboard was ‘very critical’ and that they were depressed and running out of money. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk