Glasgow & West Scotland

Scots cadet stranded by Hanjin collapse 'trying to be positive'

Ruairidh Hanna
Image caption Ruairidh Hanna is stranded with three other cadets from Glasgow College

A sea cadet, stranded onboard a container vessel in the South China Sea along with three other Scots, has said he is trying to stay positive.

Ruaridh Hanna, from Beauly in the Highlands, has been serving on a Hanjin Shipping vessel for three months.

However, ports around the world are refusing to let Hanjin's ships dock after the company filed for bankruptcy.

Mr Hanna told BBC Radio Scotland the cadets were "taking each day as it comes".

The 22-year-old told the Good Morning Scotland programme that given an opportunity by the UK government to leave the ship, he and the other cadets would take it rather than waiting to see if it would be given permission to dock.

Ports around the world are refusing to let Hanjin Shipping vessels dock or unload, fearing they will not get paid.

'British citizens'

The situation has left boats and crew stranded, including the four cadets who are aboard the Hanjin Louisiana as part of their nautical science course at Glasgow College.

Mr Hanna said: "If there was a prospect of us getting off, of course all four of us would take it, simply for the fact that if we don't, we don't know how long we'd be here for.

"There's no berthing schedule, there's no possibility of that kind anytime soon, so certainly, if we got that chance, if the government were able to intervene in some way, then absolutely we would take it."

Image copyright Google
Image caption The Hanjin Louisiana (marked with red dot) anchored east of Singapore on Thursday

Mr Hanna's mother Rhona MacLennan has called on the UK government to get involved and get her son and the other cadets off the ship.

She told the programme: "It's been really difficult, the not knowing. I can understand that it's a foreign company but they [the UK government] have to remember that the cadets are all British citizens and their welfare must take priority.

"I hope that they will move now in getting them back to shore."

SNP MP Drew Hendry has also called on the UK government to act and warned that the area was at risk of pirates.

He said: "This week we have had a more positive response from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and I believe that they have actually made some contact with the cadets.

"But it's all moving very slowly and you can see the concerns are building for the cadets and their families. That's the worry - that they're basically sitting trapped in a vessel in an area that does have a risk of piracy."

'Generally ok'

He added: "The ball is in the court of the UK government now. We've made the representations, they know the situation out there now and they really need to take some action."

Mr Hanna described his situation as "unprecedented". He told the BBC: "It's never happened before. Hanjin are the world's seventh biggest shipping company so for it to collapse like this is unheard of."

He said: "We're trying to keep in positive spirits. There's no news of us getting to port and therefore no news of us getting off the vessel anytime soon. We're taking each day as it comes and we're generally ok."

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Ruaridh Hanna has been serving on the Hanjin Louisiana for three months

He added: "They're [Hanjin] not actually telling us anything and we're getting very little in the way of information from anyone.

"Everyday there is more Hanjin vessels coming close to us and anchoring. There was some rumours that we overheard from another vessel that they could potentially go into port in Singapore and unload their cargo but that got cancelled.

"I believe Hanjin are currently $245m (£187m) short of the funds needed to unload all their cargo at the moment so there's certainly some way to go yet."

The troubled shipping group has debts of more than $5bn and has struggled to raise funding to rescue $14bn (£10.5bn) worth of cargo stranded round the world following its collapse.

Hanjin filed for receivership in South Korea in August after attempts to bail out the indebted company failed.

There are an estimated 89 Hanjin ships out of its 141-vessel fleet in difficulty, and some have been seized by creditors.

On Thursday, a Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are ready to provide consular assistance to any British nationals that have been affected after Hanjin Shipping filed for bankruptcy in a number of countries."

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