Chief Officer of Cargo Ship Allowed to Leave After Four Years Alone

The general cargo ship the MV Aman was detained at the Suez anchorage in Egypt in July 2017. Mohammad Aisha, who had only been on board for two months at that time, was appointed chief officer of the ship, legally binding them together. The rest of the crew was allowed to disembark and go home.

Four years later Aisha was still on board, alone. The ship is for sale but the sale is stalled and therefore he was required to stay. “I’ve requested repatriation many times,” Aisha told The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) several months ago. “But the port authorities are refusing to allow me to leave.” The ship ran aground about a year ago and since then he was without power and only had one way to get basics like food and water — by swimming to shore and swimming back. The ship is registered in Bahrain.

In late April, authorities granted Aisha the ability to leave the ship and return to his homeland, Syria. He said in a report by the BBC he experienced “relief, joy” upon receiving the news of his release from responsibility for the ship. During his four years onboard the ship in the Suez Canal, Aisha’s mother died. After catching up with family, Aisha plans to return to his work at sea.