STRANDED crew from a storm-hit ship were given comfort by a charity.
The 28,300-tonne Molat got into difficulties off the Wearside coast when its wood load froze, causing it to list.
The Croatian ship began to list 40 miles out in the North Sea last Tuesday.
After anchoring at Seaburn, it struggled into Sunderland Port prior for urgent repairs.
It was there that volunteers from the Sunderland branch of seafarers’ charity Apostleship of the Sea stepped in to provide support for the 20-strong crew.
Sister Mary Scholastica was among those who visited the ship, taking hats, chocolates and toiletries for crew members. One of the sailors was also helped to contact his worried family.
Sister Scholastica said: “The crew were not expecting to dock in Sunderland but the rough weather changed that. Given the stress that this has meant for them we were determined to give them a special welcome and ensure they were well looked after.”
The vessel left Norrkopping in Sweden on Monday and was destined for Alexandria in Egypt. But its cargo of wood froze, making the load heavier and causing the ship to list. It also is believed it may have hit an iceberg.
A marine surveyor was sent to check the vessel and its crew spent the night on board.
Roman Catholic charity the Apostleship of the Sea provides practical and spiritual support to seafarers in more than 250 ports around the world.