CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A vessel that was detained by the U.S. Marshal Service was abandoned by it’s company while in the Charleston Harbor, then sold last week. The cargo-ship still filled with 21 crew members prompted Charleston based, D’Allesandro’s Pizza, to make a special delivery.
The Evolution is said to be the 1st major vessel abandonment in the United States since a 2018 crew abandonment insurance was created. An individual familiar with the crew members on board the cargo-ship, Corey Connor a Charleston based inspector with the International Transport Workers’ Federation, said crew abandonment is not entirely uncommon.
It does happen—it’s not uncommon, especially when around the world but it’s very uncommon in the United States.Corey Connor, Inspector for ITF
Connor said that it was with the assistance of the U.S. Marshal Service, the ITF, and Sam Hines a maritime lawyer that an online auction was held last week to sell the vessel—noting two main reasons for the more than 1.3 million dollar sale.
One the vessel is abandoned so there’s currently nobody taking responsibility to for it so the vessel needs to be sold to a new company. The second part of that is getting the crew paid. So the crew hadn’t been paid for 4 months, so we were able to get everyone to agree to pay the crew with the sale of the vessel.Corey Connor, Inspector for ITF
The crew consisting of 19 Filipinos, 1 Jordanian, and 1 Lebanese individual—are all without visas valid for entry into the U.S. Connor said his hope is to have them sent home from the United States, but to do that there would have to be coordination from a few entities that include the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Since the Evolution’s first ask for assistance of the ITF in March, the crew has been given toiletries, care packages, WiFi so they can connect with their families back home, and D’Allesandro Pizza. Connor noted that when he brought the pizza onboard, the crew cheered and the Captain even embraced him in a hug.
Ben D’Allesandro, co-owner of D’Allesandro Pizza alongside his brother, said the trip to get to the vessel was difficult. D’Allesandro, accompanied by Connor, said he brought their best pies and some additional items for the crew.
Just a wide array of all of our finest pizzas, plus I took them a bunch of our gear some hats and shirts and post cards—maybe they’ll send them home to their families.Ben D’Allesandro, Co-owner of D’Allessandro’s Pizza
D’Allesandro said he took a ‘Beetnick’ Pie, ‘Chauncinator’, ‘Spicy Benny’, a ‘Get Gnarly’ and even a Vegan Pie for the Captain. After his post to Facebook about the delivery, he noted that an influx of individuals have reached out also wanting to help the crew.
I think when people are walking out on the battery or boating out on the harbor and they see this boat—which I know they’ve seen for the past little bit, now they’ll realize that there are people on this boat.Ben D’Allesandro, Co-owner of D’Allessandro’s Pizza
The ITF asked that individuals do no approach the boat by themselves—as the crew could react wrong to an unknown guest.