Ship seized in Canada: 34 sailors return to Russia
Dozens of sailors stranded for weeks in Canada after their cruise ship was seized over unpaid debts have returned to Russia while the ship is to be sold, a Russian embassy official said Tuesday.
The Russian owner of the Lyubov Orlova is "frantically" looking for a buyer in order to avoid it being auctioned off by Canadian authorities at a cut rate to pay back a 250,000-dollar debt owed to a Canadian company that had chartered it, the official said.
The Lyubov Orlova's 51 crew were stuck in Saint John's, Newfoundland since September 25. Thirty-four of them returned home to Russia on Sunday.
Canadian media said the ship was sold to a Norwegian company, but neither the Russian embassy nor the Canadian charter company would confirm it. Regardless, the debts would have to be paid in full before it is released.
A lawyer for charter company Cruise North Expeditions, Isabelle Pillet, said the company had paid the ship's owner in advance for summer adventure tours of northern Labrador, which did not occur.
The ship's crew are also claiming four months of unpaid wages in a Canadian court. Those who remained aboard the docked ship stayed to upkeep the vessel.
© 2010 AFP