NEWS

Phoenix Sun finally leaves Sorel port... but only gets to Quebec City

05/25/2015 09:24 EDT | Updated 05/25/2016 05:59 EDT
Despite setting sail this weekend after two and a half years of being stranded in Sorel, Que., the Phoenix Sun saga is not yet over.

The long-stranded freighter is still in Quebec, despite leaving Sorel's port on the weekend.

People in the city popped a bottle of champagne when the ship was declared seaworthy enough to leave. Residents had launched a petition to remove the large, rusted ship, which had been stranded in Sorel since Nov. 2012.  

But the ship was not destined to make it to its Dubai destination.

The ship sailed for about 200 kilometres, and then the engine failed near Quebec City.

The 186-metre freighter has been towed to a Quebec City dock while Transport Canada conducts the repair work, according to Michel Plamondon, a spokesman for the Canadian Coast Guard.

"Good luck Régis!" wrote the mayor of Sorel-Tracy Serge Péloquin on his Facebook, referring to Régis Labeaume, the mayor of Quebec City.

"Our famous Phoenix is broken and is currently being towed to the port of Quebec. A small gift from Serge to Régis."

When the ship arrives in Dubai, it will undergo major repairs and be rebaptized as "Phoenix."

The plight of the Turkish sailors

The dozen sailors from Turkey working on the boat were safely sent home after running out of food and enduring two months without pay — a situation called "barbaric and beyond comprehension" by a union representing seafarers.

Ontario-based company Menpas Shipping had originally flown the men from Turkey to repair the ship and sail it overseas for dismantling. But the sailors said they stopped getting paid in July, a claim refuted by the company.

People in Sorel raised $10,000 to help the sailors go home.

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