Cargo ship stranded in Oshawa port now back on its way

Sailors aboard the Fritz, a German-owned cargo ship, were not supposed to be in the Oshawa port at all.

German owners had financial difficulties, sailors ran out of food, supplies

For two days, the cargo ship Fritz had been on the fritz - unable to leave the Port of Oshawa. (Sebastien St-Francois/CBC)

Sailors aboard the Fritz, a German-owned cargo ship, were not supposed to be in the Oshawa, Ont., port at all.

First the boat sat in another unscheduled stop in a port in Kingston, Ont., and now has come west. After going three months without pay, and with supplies running low, the crew members say they had no choice but to stop and seek help.

"Personally for me, it's been six months on board. It's a long time," said ship captain Boris Nikirov.

The ship flies a Liberian flag, but it was the German owners of the ship who ran into financial difficulties. Since last week, members of St. Stefan The Great Romanian Orthodox Church have been providing whatever they can to these reluctant visitors — many of whom are Romanian.

"They didn't have food...they had to fish in Lake Ontario to survive," said Dan Grebenisan of St. Stefan the Great.

The ship is carrying a heavy load of steel rods that was purchased by a company in Ohio. To complicate matters, the crew on board says they're now having mechanical issues.

But late Tuesday afternoon, the tide turned.

"The way it's going now, I think it's going to work out great for everybody," Donna Taylor of the Oshawa Port Authority said.

The Port Authority announced that a new foreign investor stepped forward to pay the crew and get the ship moving again.

"Thank you very much..." said Nikirov as he geared up the Fritz to leave Ontario shores.

With a report from the CBC's John Lancaster