Courtesy NewLead Holdings Ltd.
Courtesy NewLead Holdings Ltd.

The 18 sailors aboard the Newlead Granadino have been stuck in the Baltimore harbor for around seven weeks now. They’re hard at work trying to fix their ship’s mechanical issues, but thanks to some serious generosity from Baltimore-area residents within the last week, they’re now equipped with plenty of supplies.

The U.S. Coast Guard last week ordered the ship to remain in the harbor due to engine problems. The company that owns it is unable to pay for the repair costs, the Sun reported Friday.

To help them out, the Baltimore International Seafarers’ Center, an interfaith ministry that aids sailors in the harbor throughout the year, has been facilitating donations. Davisson’s ministry has served as a channel for Baltimoreans’ generosity. Many residents asked how they could help out upon recently learning about the stranded vessel. Yesterday, the ministry posted on its Facebook page that the crew “has received sufficient supplies and does not have space for anything else.”

Reached today by phone, Rev. Mary H.T. Davisson, executive director of the Locust Point-based Seafarers Center, said the flood of donations “has just been incredibly heartwarming.” But anything more might just crowd the ship. “They are really needing to focus on the work they need to do. At the moment, they are OK.”

If people do send additional donations right now, they’ll probably go to other ships that need them more, unless new issues arise for the Malta vessel’s crew, Davisson said.

While the Baltimore International Seafarers’ Center doesn’t always encounter such dire situations for the sailors who they help, they are ready for this type of situation. “We spend the whole year building trust and relationships so that when something comes up like this, when a crisis occurs, we are able to respond effectively,” Davisson said.

Their work includes delivering supplies, offering spiritual assistance and advocating for sailors stuck in bad circumstances. In some cases, they’ll send chaplains aboard and learn from crew members that something environmentally unethical is happening, or that someone is being abused.

If members are permitted to come on land with security and the proper visas, ministry staff will go meet them at the docks and take them out to run errands. Unfortunately, many of the sailors aboard the Granadino can’t come on land because they lack proper U.S. visas, Davisson said.

It remains very unclear when the Newlead Granadino will be able to leave the harbor. Davisson said “it’s my understanding that it could be weeks or months, but I’m not an expert on the legal and mechanical issues.”

For now, they’ve got the food, water and other essentials to keep them going while they try to get their ship seaworthy again.

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Ethan McLeod

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...