NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Half of stranded Malaviya Seven crew finally heading home from Aberdeen

Tears of crew at airport
Image caption There were emotional scenes at the airport

Six crew members from an Indian ship that has been held in Aberdeen harbour for more than a year have begun their journey home.

The Malaviya Seven ship was detained in June last year, under merchant shipping regulations, and again in October.

The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) said the 12 crew were owed a total of more than £600,000.

Last week, a sheriff ruled the Malaviya Seven could be sold at public auction so wages could be paid.

There were emotional scenes at Aberdeen International Airport early on Thursday morning as six of the men began their journey home to India.

The remaining six are staying until the ship is sold.

The men have not seen their families for more than 17 months.

Image caption The six crew members at the airport with a seventh crewman (centre) there to wave them off
Image caption The crew members checking in at the airport

Rahul Sharma, 26, who is the youngest crew member, told BBC Scotland he is planning to surprise his mother, who does not know he is coming home.

"I don't remember the last time I was so happy," he said.

"I'm going to try not to be so emotional because I just want to keep smiling all the time.

"This is the moment I was waiting for or so long. Normally, it's just a two or three-month contract and after that it's a lot of excitement but now it's been more than 17 months so you can imagine how happy we are."

Aberdeen Sheriff Court previously heard there had already been interest in the offshore ship, which will be advertised for sale around the world.

Image caption The crew stayed with the boat in a bid to ensure they would be paid
Image caption Malaviya Seven was first detained in June last year

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