Ukranian crew ordered to not exit tanker sitting on river in Toledo

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TOLEDO, Ohio -- If you look north down the Maumee River toward the bay beyond, you may notice something unusual.

A large tanker just sitting on one side of the river.

It's been there for nearly a month and shows no signs of going anywhere anytime soon.

"It has a Ukrainian crew, the registration is Liberian," said Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins, "and my understanding is, there's a huge amount of money owed."

Documents say the U.S. Marshal's Service is holding the tanker known as the "Fritz" pending payment of about $900,000 in fees.

Complicating matters, it's not clear if the crew has been paid in a timely fashion.

If not, that could increase the chances of a desertion -- leaving no one to move the ship even if the fees are paid.

"The federal government is over there, monitoring the ship," Collins said, "to make sure...none of the crew leaves the ship, and all of a sudden, disappears."

The U.S. Coast Guard has ordered the German owners to make sure no one deserts, but federal authorities are on the scene making sure none of the crew members leave the ship.

The crew, which may include Romanians as well, may also no longer be covered by a maritime union agreement.

It's not known how many supplies the crew has on board, or what will be done if those supplies run low.

The "Fritz" was apparently supposed to offload steel coils weeks ago, and then depart.

But that hasn't happened, so now, after more than three weeks in the Maumee River, the ship, and its crew, continue to sit and wait to learn their fate.