Cosco Busan Chinese crew still detained - good or bad?

Found this story at and wanted to see what you all thought about this whole mess.

<p style="text-align: left;]<font style="text-transform: uppercase; float: left;]SAN FRANCISCO - </font><span class=“lingo_region” id="lingo_span]
For nearly a year, six Chinese crew members of the cargo ship that crashed into a bridge and spilled 50,000 gallons of oil into <a rel=“nofollow” href=“” style="border-bottom: 1px dotted; color: rgb(0, 51, 153); text-decoration: none; cursor: pointer; display: inline; font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 13px; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal;]San Francisco Bay have been detained by federal authorities.
Although they are under arrest as material witnesses, life is not as bad as it could be. They are not in jail.
Living rent-free in apartments and hotels, they have been permitted to roam one of the most beautiful cities in the world. They continue to draw their salaries, and each also receives $1,200 per month for witness fees, which exceeds the $900 monthly salary of at least one detained seaman.
But, as good as that deal may sound, the men have been fighting to return to their families and their lives in China. They already have been unable to celebrate important family birthdays and tend to sick relatives. One crewman’s wedding had to be delayed.
“They are unhappily detained,” said Douglas Schwartz, a lawyer representing the ship’s captain, Mao Cai Sun.
The sailors are stuck here in legal limbo because of their duties aboard the Cosco Busan. On Nov. 7, 2007, the ship struck the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, gashing its hull and releasing oil that killed thousands of birds and fouled beaches.
Prosecutors want the crewmen to testify in federal criminal cases against the ship’s U.S. pilot John Cota and Cosco Busan operator Fleet Management Ltd., which is accused of obstruction. Cota and Fleet Management, both of whom also face several lawsuits, have pleaded not guilty. READ MORE HERE

<p style="text-align: center;]<span class=“lingo_region” id="lingo_span]


Would you like to be detained in China on $1200 per month? Not to mention $1200 in San Francisco will barely buy you the daily latte needed to stay awake during the trial.
If the golden rule is to treat others like you wnt to be treated I’d say this is a very bad deal for them and a worse one for us. What is going to prevent other countries from detaining US mariners after an oil spill in a foriegn port? Will the world’s best mariners choose to take jobs on runs to the USA knowing they could be detained for a bunker oil spill or will they opt for voyages that avoid our borders and leave the positions open for those who can’t find a job elsewhere?
Not to mention that the wrong people are on trial here. If I can provide one piece of advice to all greenhorns it’s “don’t be afraid to walk away from a job!”. The fact is the entire crew was replaced 2 weeks prior to the incident. They didn’t know each other strenghts, weaknesses, personalities not to mention which button to press on the ecdis! An effective bridge team can simply not be put together in two weeks time. As one smart mariner put it “a baseball manager can hire all the star hitters and pitchers he wants but can’t expect them to win games in the first 2 weeks”.
The cards were stacked against these guys from the day they boarded the vessel. If they were smart they would have turned around at the gangway… it’s not like their aren’t plenty of jobs out there for Chinese mates.