HOUSTON (AP) _ A Romanian sailor who jumped ship at the Port of Houston will be deported unless State Department and Immigration and Naturalization Service officials agree he is a victim of religious persecution, a judge ruled.

U.S. Immigration Judge Stephanie Marks gave Ivan Kraila 60 days to apply for political asylum. Kraila, who jumped ship last month, was released on his own recognizance after a hearing Thursday.

Cornia Almeida, INS trial attorney, said that if the State Department recommends asylum, she will interview the sailor and may endorse his request.

Kraila, 29, jumped ship early in December and lived on the streets for several days before he came to the INS, which arranged for assistance by a local church, according to Ronald Parra, district director for the INS.