An elderly Pierce County, Washington man is under house arrest in the Middle East, allegedly for swearing at a customs officer, said his family.
Chuck Maringer, 74, is no stranger to the sea. But on June 29, the veteran merchant marine decided to do some shopping in Dubai, a port city in the United Arab Emirates, said his son Duke.
Chuck and two other sailors who were serving aboard the APL Merchant Ship "Truman" were held up at the customs house on the dock for more than an hour, said Duke.
At one point, a frustrated Chuck used an expletive to announce that he was returning to the ship.
Upon their return, the three were told the ship could not disembark unless they went back to the customs house and apologized.
The two sailors did, but Chuck did not, saying he had not done anything wrong, said Duke.
The Sailors Union of the Pacific says it is lobbying the U.S. government for Chuck's safe return.
The offices of Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., say they have been made aware of the situation.
A member of Cantwell's office said they have contacted the U.S. Consulate in Dubai to figure out what is going on and to try to get an update on Chuck's status.
Meanwhile, Duke Maringer has been able to stay in contact with his father. He says, despite continuing to work aboard a ship well past retirement age, Chuck is not in the best health and his family is concerned.
They hope to resolve the diplomatic situation as soon as possible, especially because the Islamic holiday Ramadan begins this weekend, and could further delay Chuck's day in court.
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