Venezuela has released the captain of a U.S.-flag cargo ship and dropped charges against the vessel and crew, said a U.S. union.
, a heavylift ship operated by Crowley for shipping company Intermarine, has been in Maricaibo since Aug. 29, according to an account in Forbes
report said the 14-person crew was detained and the captain questioned after three rifles were found on board. The rifles were apparently in a secured locker and only available to approved personnel in the event of an emergency such as a pirate attack.
In a statement
issued Monday afternoon, the Seafarers International Union said “charges have been dropped against the vessel and crew and the master has been returned to the vessel. We continue to work cooperatively with the Venezuelan authorities on some administrative matters, which, when completed, will permit the vessel and crew to depart the port.”
The union said it had been “working closely with the U.S. State Department, our affiliated union the American Maritime Officers, Crowley Liner Services, and Intermarine to ensure the safety, proper treatment and prompt release of the crew members and officers.”
said one of the crewmen on the ship, Russell Yale Macomber, has been posting humor-spiced updates on the crew’s ordeal, saying that originally the ship was searched by authorities who were looking for drugs, but found none. He reported that despite being detained, crew members were "being treated fairly." - Chris Dupin