Sailor Spends Four Years Trapped On An Abandoned Ship

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A Syrian sailor, Mohammad Aisha was left alone on an Egyptian coast and was made to spend 4 years there as a castaway because the court declared him as the legal guardian of the Bahraini Cargo ship he was aboard.

In 2017, he was working on MV Aman, a ship that was detained on the port of Adabiya as its safety tools and classification certificates were not up to date. These types of issues are handled quickly but as its Bahraini owners and Lebanese investors were facing some financial issues the problem got prolonged. So the ship resulted in being abandoned at sea and the Egyptian courts named its chief officer the legal guardian. When the documents were presented to Aisha he had no clue that he was signing himself off to 4 years of isolation on the ship.

He informed BBC that he was clueless about the implication of the signed contract and realized after 4 months when other crew months started leaving the ship. He was supposed to stay on the ship according to the legalities. By 2019 summer he was completely alone without any power, sanitation, or information as to when his trial would finish.

He could see ships sailing by near Suez Canal, patiently anticipating the day when he will be able to head home. When news of his mother’s death reached him in August 2018 he reached an all-new low and contemplated committing suicide.

A strong storm unanchored the ship in March 2020 and moved it closer to the Egyptian shore. It came to him as a blessing as he managed to swim to the shore and charge his phone and get fresh food supplies.
Around 20th April 2021, he finally bid farewell to the ship that had turned out to be a prison for him and flew back home to see his family in Syria.

BBC tried to get in touch with Aisha’s employers, Tylos Shipping and Marine Services who blamed him for signing the contract in the first place and claimed to have tried to help him over the years but to no avail.
A company spokesperson said that a judge could not be forced to remove the legal guardianship and we made unsuccessful attempts in trying to replace him.

International Transport Federation undertook Aisha’s case in December 2020 and stated that his hardship could have been eased if the owners had taken their due responsibility and obligations.

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