TWO SAILORS forced to live in cramped, unsanitary conditions with no mains power and wash in rain water have been rescued from a ship laid up in the River Fal.
The Romanian men were taken off of the Dona Liberta after the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) issued a prohibition order on the ship, ordering the crew off the vessel last Monday.
Florin Raducan and George Cristof had not been paid for three months and money for supplies had dried up, forcing them to fish for food.
They were living in a few small spaces on the ship and had no mains power, relying on vessels which sometimes pulled up alongside for electricity.
The Greek-owned ship was laid up in King Harry Reach in June this year and the workers on board had been regularly visited by the Mission to Seafarers charity and Truro Harbour Office staff.
The two watchmen wanted to stay on the ship and did not want their story highlighted, fearful their wages would not be paid.
But Truro harbour master Mark Killingback said the situation became unacceptable as winter drew closer.
The ship was placed under arrest and this week the workers were still staying in a Falmouth hotel while the International Transport Federation fought for their wages to be paid.
Mission to Seafarers' chairman Penny Phillips said it may be a long battle, with the men possibly only receiving their wages when the ship is sold.
The agencies involved plan to debrief about the situation and Truro Harbour Office will seek assurances in future about provisions on vessels laid up in the river.
Ms Phillips said new international rules were also due to be instated next year which would make ship owners more accountable for the welfare of their crew, also making it easier to prosecute people for not meeting basic standards.
She added: "Hopefully that means this time next year we won't be in a situation where we have to rescue people from ships."