Eight seamen from the Dominican Republic have been left without pay or food for the past seventeen months.

The seamen, who are from the Dominican Republic, are living on a tug boat in Cobh and are being looked after by local workers. Until now they have been afraid to speak publicly about their ordeal.

The problem emerged when one of their vessels ran into engine trouble and they have been stuck in Cork ever since. The men do not know if the owners of the ship ran out of money but none of the crew have been paid for ten months. Rafael Morena is the only crew member who speaks any English. A local dockyard worker Alan McCarthy spoke to RTÉ News about the situation. 

One of them approached us for a drop of milk so we really thought to ourselves things are bad here.

Tom MacSweeney reports for RTÉ News on 18 October 2000.