14 stranded sailors are heading home

September 11, 1992|By Joe Nawrozki | Joe Nawrozki,Staff Writer

After being stranded aboard their cargo ship in the Baltimore harbor since July 14, at least 14 Yugoslav sailors decided to head back to their war-torn country today.

The other half of the crew was scheduled to stay with the ship, the Dormitor, to help maintain the vessel, according to Rep. Helen Delich Bentley, R-2nd.

"They grew tired of waiting to see if the court appeal would free them and their ship," Mrs. Bentley said. "They were very anxious, they felt like prisoners."

The frustration and anxiety they felt was understandable, Mrs. Bentley said.

None of the sailors has been paid in three months and they fear the firms that own the ship are in financial trouble.

Two of the sailors leaving today have not been home in more than a year and one has never seen his infant son.

Those leaving the Dormitor today will be taken by bus to New York, where they will begin their air journey home, the congresswoman said.

She said the sailors have had the option of leaving since President Bush's order freezing assets of companies believed to be owned by the new Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Among the assets are the Dormitor, the 514-foot ship that for months ran cargo from the U.S. to South America and back.

U.S. Customs officials boarded the vessel July 14 and ordered the Dormitor detained while it was anchored off the Dundalk Marine Terminal.

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