Seven crew members of the Cuban motorship 'Oriente' leaped ashore as the vessel drew alongside the wall of the Panama Canal's Gatun Locks Oct 30.
GV. Cuban ship entering canal.
CU. Name on ship 'Oriente'.
TV. Ship's stern with name.
GV. Ship leaving canal
SV. Seven members of the crew who jumped ship down steps from building.
SV. The seven members enter building.
SCU. Officer and party sitting.
GV. Officer and other members who defected give press conference.
CU. Officer makes statement.
CU.PAN. Along defectors to office.
GV. During hearing.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Seven crew members of the Cuban motorship 'Oriente' leaped ashore as the vessel drew alongside the wall of the Panama Canal's Gatun Locks Oct 30. The United States is expected to grant their request for political asylum.
The 'Oriente', carrying 2,634-tons of Cuban sugar, was bound for North Korea when the men defected. Their departure left only the ship's captain and the chief engineer on board.
At a press conference held in the Immigration Offices, 23-year old Juan Luis Fernando Cosculluela, the Chief Mate, said; "We are not going back aboard. We wold rather go to prison."
Now anchored in the Gatun Lake after clearing the Canal, the 'Oriente' awaits the enlistment of necessary crew before Captain Emilio Valdes will attempt the Pacific crossing.