Jul 152009

Captain Jasprit Singh Chawla, one of the two seafarers released in June following 18 months of detention in South Korea, has conveyed his thanks to all who supported him. He and chief officer Syam Chetan were detained after their vessel, the Hebei Spirit, was hit by a crane barge, causing an oil spill.

In an email addressed to the ITF on 15 July, Chawla says: “Thanks to you, I am finally back home with my loved ones. I feel Samsung tried everything to prove us guilty and keep us back in Korea but the support and determination from you and the whole of the shipping community was so strong that it minimised their efforts. “I don’t think I would ever be able to thank each and every individual who came forward to support us. I am finding it difficult to find words to show my feelings as the word ‘thanks’ looks too insignificant to express my feelings. “On coming back the support and love which I received from my fellow seafarers and others was very touching as they understood what all we went through. Many of them offered their full support to help us prove we were fully innocent. “Please do convey my thanks to all other people with you on behalf of me and family for believing in me.”

The ITF and a number of unions and shipping organisations led an international campaign for the release of the Hebei Two, as they had become known.

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