Students stranded in South China Sea

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Four student cadets from Glasgow College are stranded on a boat in the South China Sea.

The quartet was due to arrive home earlier this month until the collapse of the South Korean shipping giant Hanjin.

The company has supposedly refused to dock its ships over fears they will be seized by authorities.

Now four Scottish students are said to be among 2500 stranded seafarers worldwide and are currently aboard the the Hanjin Louisiana, anchored near the Strait of Malacca in the Pacific Ocean.

That particular part of the ocean is infamous for piracy.

A spokesman for Clyde Marine Training, which organises work placements for students at Glasgow College, said: “The current situation with Hanjin is causing difficulties and disruption and involves a number of vessels around the world.

“We currently have four cadets on board Hanjin Louisiana, which is at anchor off Singapore.

“We are in regular contact with both them and their families, and understand just how frustrating this situation is for them.

“Their well-being is of paramount importance, and we remain in close communication with all parties concerned in order to offer any practical assistance we can and to ensure that they are able to return home as soon as is possible.”

Cadet Ruaridh Hanna, from Dingwall, said they have had very little communication from Hanjin.

In a Facebook post, Mr Hanna said: “It looks like I could be stuck out here for months.

“Thanks to Jill McAlpine and everyone else at Drew Hendry MP’s office for the work they’re doing to try to ensure me and the other four British cadets get home as soon as possible.”

They are also concerned about when their supplies will be replenished.

Drew Hendry MP has been working with the Nautilus International Seafarers’ Union to help the stranded cadets.

“The human cost of this situation is still little known, with over 2500 seafarers stranded out at sea including these four cadets,” Mr Hendry told STV News.

“After Ruaridh got in touch, my immediate concern - and that of my colleagues - was to get him and his colleagues home to their families. “Over the past couple of weeks my office and I have been working with Nautilus and other agencies to find ways making this happen and we have been utterly exasperated at the lack of ownership of the situation and poor responsiveness of Zodiac, the company the students have been placed with. “The cadets had a glimmer of hope when it was suggested that they might have been able to get off the ship and on to the supply boat but it seems that is no longer an option. “They now face the unwelcome prospect of been stranded for months as Hanjin continue to refuse to port their ships.”

He added: “Hanjin have raised cases in courts all over the world, seeking legal guarantees that their creditors won’t be able to seize the vessel and goods on-board when they dock.

“These young cadets cannot be expected to be adrift while all this plays out in the courts.”