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Polish Sailors Defect From Same Ships That Brought Earlier Defectors

December 30, 1988

BOSTON (AP) _ A group of 23 Polish sailors has asked for political asylum after fleeing the same two vessels that brought 13 other Polish sailors who landed here in January with the same request.

The latest group of sailors set foot here Tuesday after disembarking from the fishing trawlers Kunatka and Laskara. On Thursday they began the formal process of applying for asylum.

Some of the men carried shore passes as they entered the Polish-American Citizens Club in the city’s Dorchester section. They told patrons and staff that they wanted to remain in the United States.

City Hall officials and representatives of Polish-American groups met with the seamen to discuss the process.

City immigration consultant Kathryn MacInnes interviewed them and prepared their asylum applications. ″They have to show they have well-founded fears of persecution if they were to return to their country,″ she said.

Most of the men are married, and many have children. Hopeful that asylum will be granted soon, the men say they are also hopeful that they can be reunited with their families.

The Polish sailors who jumped ship in January were granted asylum in April under a process the federal government considers expedited, Ms. MacInnes said.

The Kunatka has left Boston. The Laskara is docked in Boston for repairs.