So most of our calls went unanswered today and very little new information is available. According to one crew member they ship is still detained but are ok. Still no word on the status of the Captain who has been identified as Jeffrey Michael Raider, 45, of Texas…
gCaptain did get a hold of one source to commented on the status of the vessel. We asked “Why has the ship not departed? Has the ship been arrested, officially detained or are they waiting on the Captain’s return”. The reply was “situation remains very fluid”.
Crowley issued this statement earlier today: “The master, who is ashore, and the crew, who remain on board the vessel, are safe. In light of the sensitive nature of the situation and our desire keep the crew safe while issues are resolved with the Venezuelan authorities, we will not provide further comment at this time.”
A CNN report claim that local authorities have agreed to return the captain to the ship on Saturday in order to move the ship from the docks to an anchorage in Maracaibo Bay. They also claim the captain was not detained until after he refused to let authorities arrest the crew.
I also got a hold of Interpol and they officially deny ever boarding the ship. I can’t say that some local didn’t claim to be interpol but, if they did, that claim appears to be bogus.
I also want to thank Father Oubre, president of Apostle Of The Sea ( http://www.aos-usa.org/ ). He’s a mariner himself and occasionally still sails out of the same union hall as the ship’s crew (SIU Houston) so he’s in contact with all the major players here in the US and the seaman’s churches in Venezuela to assist as needed.
The Council Of American Master Mariners, of which I’m a member, is also closely watching the case and working it’s channels to help get the Captain released. They have a long record of success in similar matters and are a strong voice against the criminalization of mariners. Memberships are cheap and go directly to supporting causes like this one so, if you’re an American Captain, I strongly recommend joining up. And feel free to use my name as your sponsor. Here’s the form: http://www.mastermariner.org/membership/camm-memberapp.pdf
In the meantime gCaptain’s editors will continue to update this thread and the blog when new information emerges.