Russian crew of ferry detained in Portland 'wants to go home'

MV Jireh at Portland Port
Image caption The ferry, formerly known as Strandebarm, suffered power failure near Portland Port

The Russian crew of a ferry detained in Dorset have no money and are desperate to return home, a charity says.

The Nigerian-registered MV Jireh was towed into Portland last week after suffering power failure.

The ship, en route to Senegal from Norway, previously asked to berth in Jersey and then Guernsey before heading to Portland where it broke down.

The Sailors' Society said it was working with the authorities to repatriate the nine people on board.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said the ship was detained on Thursday for not complying with "merchant shipping regulations for its direction of travel" and for failing to meet on-board living standards.

A spokesman said it would "remain detained until it is fully compliant with these regulations".

'Anxious and desperate'

The Sailors' Society said it was working with the Stella Maris chaplaincy - also known as the Apostleship of the Sea - as well as the port, Border Force and police to help the stranded crew members.

"We've given them food, a phone and wi-fi," CEO Sandra Welch said.

"It's the only way they've been able to make contact with the outside world and let their families know they're OK.

"They're safe and comfortable, but they're anxious and desperate to be paid so that they can return home, so we're hoping this can be resolved in the next few days.

"Sadly, this situation is not uncommon."

Image caption The MV Jireh has been detained at Portland

The ro-ro ferry, left Rubbestadneset in Norway on 28 October after being sold by its Norwegian owners.

Ports of Jersey said it initially anchored off the island on 9 November because of bad weather and requested to berth over the winter.

After being told it needed an agent to handle the request, it sailed to Guernsey where it also requested to berth.

While there, the Red Cross sent the crew supplies of food and clothing.

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