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    Brazilian seamen still stranded

    By Times staff writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published October 24, 2002

    Despite hopes that repairs would be made this week, 21 Brazilian seamen remain stranded on a disabled freighter anchored 16 miles from the Sunshine Skyway bridge.

    The Neptunia Mediterraneo will remain there until the ship's owner sends the money and mechanical parts needed to fix the ship, Coast Guard officials said Wednesday. Last week, it was hoped those parts would arrive this week, but it appeared Wednesday they would not.

    The seamen aboard the 465-foot container ship are healthy and have at least 15 days of food left, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Paul Rhynard.

    The ship's owner, Adriano Frioli of Sao Paulo, Brazil, could not be reached for comment.

    This is the fourth week the Neptunia Mediterraneo, has been anchored. The ship was heading from Colombia to Houston to pick up empty refrigerated containers.

    The ship's captain radioed the U.S. Coast Guard on Sept. 25 to report engine trouble. The Coast Guard sent a boat, and the crew moved the ship closer to the Port of Tampa.

    Since then, the owner has sent out three tugboats filled with food and water and promised to send a fourth by this week. However, the ship's agent said the 70-foot tug boat with the food and 43 tons of potable water remains docked at the Port of Tampa until the owner sends money and authorization to dispatch the boat.

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