Maersk Dubai sailors can stay in Canada

Four Filipino sailors have won permission stay in Canada on compassionate grounds. It ends a long fight to avoid returning home, where the sailors say they've been threatened to violence.

The Immigration Department announced today that the four will be allowed to remain in Canada, overturning an earlier deportation order.

Juanito Ilagan Jr., Ariel Broas, Esmeraldo Esteban and Rodolfo Miguel have been in Canada since 1996, when they docked in Halifax aboard the Maersk Dubai container ship.

They accused six Taiwanese officers of throwing three Romanian stowaways overboard while the ship was at sea. All six officers still work for the Dubai's owner and have yet to face trial in Taiwan.

The sailors say their families have been threatened and their pets killed. Their lawyer, Lee Cohen, has said they suspect thugs hired by the ship's owner are behind the problems.

Last November, an immigration panel found the men could not be considered refugees because they weren't being persecuted for political reasons.

The men, who all work and live in Halifax, received deportation notices in May and were told to leave the country by July 2. None complied.