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RCA helps stranded Iraqi fishermen return home

posted on 02/04/2003: 777 views

The Red Crescent Authority's branch here yesterday provided nine Iraqi fishermen with air tickets for Syria and later to Iraq by road, after they got lost at sea and ended up in the UAE. Captain Hamzah Daeer, captain of the ship, said the group went fishing on February 26 from Basra, southern Iraq. The ship belongs to a company with a licence to fish in international waters. They sell the catch to passing ships. Capt Daeer said a week later, the ship developed engine trouble. The crew contacted various people, but got no help. One of the crew, a diabetic, went into a coma because he did not have medicines. Soon the fishermen ran out of food and water as well.

The ship drifted into Ajman waters and the crew were picked up by the Ajman Frontier and Coast Guards Department. The diabetic member was treated at hospital. Some UAE national fishermen had passed by them and promised help. They reported to the authorities in Ajman who acted instantly and started looking for the Iraqis with the help of UAE fishermen. Crew members contacted their company's agent here, which arranged for their ship to be tugged to shore. He added that they were in another quandary: they couldn't return to Iraq by sea because of the war. The Red Crescent heard about their case and immediately said it would sponsor their journey home. None of the crew members knows how his family is in Basra. Now they just want to go home.

The crew said they would search for their families because TV pictures show people are fleeing Basra. Mohammed Zaid Al Shehi, who heads the branch here, said the crew were provided with air tickets under the directives of Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the UAE Red Crescent Authority. The crew were also supplied provisions. (The Gulf News)


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