Some of you may have heard of the name, Phil Halliday. If it seems like that name is familiar, but seems from long ago, you are correct, it has been a long time since the name was first mentioned in the media 18 months ago. Phil was a fisherman from Digby, Nova Scotia, who, after a brief voyage to the Caribbean on the retired Coast Guard ship Parizeau, was asked if he would return to work on the ship, to deliver it to new German owners, across the Atlantic. For $200 bucks a day, and a neat adventure, he happily re-joined for the trans Atlantic trip.
Unfortunately for him, the Spanish Navy intercepted the Destiny Empress far at sea, in December 2009, and found well over $400 million dollars of cocaine aboard. The ship and the drugs were confiscated, and the crew was jailed in Spain. Phil, in addition to dealing with medical problems, has been moved around Spanish jails, and has yet to to see a court date set for his trial.
The family is pleading for the Canadian government's assistance, but lets face it, our government has a tough time respecting the sovereignty of its citizen abroad on a good day, never mind that of a sailors on a "coke boat".
In hopes of influencing some action on the file, the family back in Digby, is asking for your help in raising awareness, and signing a petition to draw attention to this case.
The former captain of the vessel, who was reportedly not on board at the time, but was implicated in the sting, was acquitted of the charges against him. You can read more here, here and here. Here's a little more about the Parizeau and the Destiny Empress, pics and comments on her, on her way to being scrapped. You can sign the petition here.
Labels: around the world, Canadian Coast Guard, criminalization, GOC, in the media, retired ships, seafarers