Debt fight leaves crew stuck for months on ship off Georgia

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SAVANNAH, Georgia (AP) – A legal battle over debt has left a cargo ship and its 15-member crew stuck off the coast of Georgia for nearly four months.

U.S. marshals seized the Newlead Castellano in mid-April after it sailed into Savannah to offload a shipment of imported sugar. A judge ordered the ship idled while creditors sued the ship’s owner, saying they were owed $7.1 million.

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That left the crew of mostly Filipino sailors confined to the 590-foot vessel because they lacked visas allowing them to come ashore.

The ship’s first officer, Cecilio Calo Yting, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the crew is well, though he complained of boredom. He said they have been well fed.

They should go home soon. The ship was sold at auction Monday.