5 Nov 2002

16 Fiji sailors return home after being stranded in Bangladesh for six months

7:57 am on 5 November 2002

Sixteen Fiji sailors stranded in Bangladesh for nearly six months after their ship was seized have arrived home for joyful reunions with their families.

The men were abandoned by the shipping company when their vessel, the Pacific Emerald, was seized in Chittagong at the request of the Marshall Islands authorities for non-payment of port dues in Majuro.

The men say they survived on rationed food bought by selling their belongings and lived in constant fear of disease such as yellow fever and malaria as awell as attack by pirates.

The Fiji government which paid to have them flown home at a cost of 50-thousand US dollars says the company will be sued for a series of breaches.