SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A group of sailors stranded six miles off the coast of Tybee Island is one step closer to going home.
Last month we told you about the Newlead Castellano and her crew. The ship had been anchored since mid-April when an international bank foreclosed on the loan and it was seized by federal agents.
A custodian was appointed to make sure the ship had supplies. But all of the crew are foreign born and don’t have u-s visas. That means they couldn’t come ashore and had to stay on the ship until it was sold.
Monday it finally happened. The Newlead Castellano was auctioned on the steps of the federal courthouse in Savannah for a bid of $7.4 Million.
Daniel Shultz is Vice President of Dry Cargo Chartering, the ship’s new owner. He says there are some minor repairs that need to be made before she heads back out to sea.
“The goal is to get her up and running as quick as we can, put her into our fleet and get her trading around the world,” he says.
Neal Quartaro represents the Greek bank that foreclosed on the ship when its former owner stopped paying the loan.
“We’re particularly happy that we’ll be able to arrange the crew’s transportation home. They’ve been stuck on this vessel for a very, very long time,” says Quartaro. “Almost everything that we wear, touch and use in this country comes by ship and occasionally when these things happen these sailors are unfortunately stranded for some time. We’re very pleased that this ordeal is at an end for them and we look forward to repatriating them home and getting them back to their families.”
Once a new crew is finally one board the old crew will be escorted to Jackson International Airport in Atlanta and finally go home to their families. Quartaro expected the sailors should be on the way in less than two weeks.