HALIFAX -- A seafarer's union says the departure of eight Central American crew from a rusty tug in Halifax is similar to an American incident involving the same vessel two years ago.

Transport Canada deemed the 68-year-old Craig Trans unsafe on December 18th, but the owner declined to fly the crew back to Central America.

The Mission to Seafarers in Halifax then raised money and airline points to fly the crew home yesterday.

An inspector with the International Transport Workers Federation in Seattle says it's not the first time something like this has happened.

The union says it paid just under $3,800 to return three sailors from the tug to their homes in November 2011.

Jeff Engles says the crew didn't think the tugboat was seaworthy.

The U.S. coast guard also says it detained the vessel until safety problems were fixed.

Vessel owner Gerard Antoine says he fixed problems with the tug in Seattle.

He says it's not his responsibility to pay the airfares of crew to fly home after they've signed on for a trip.