This Ain’t No Cruise: Cuban Man Forced to Spend 47 Days on a Ferry

He shuttled back and forth between Russia and Finland for almost two months.

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BBC

Luis Cespedes, 41, sits inside the ferry where he was stuck for 47 days.

A man was recently forced to spend over a month on a ferry when he was repeatedly denied entry at his home country and visiting country.

Luis Cespedes, a 41-year-old Cuban architect who lives in St. Petersburg, was stuck on a ferry for 47 days when Russian immigration officials refused to let him enter the country.

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Though Cespedes is married to a Russian woman, he has no Russian passport – thus requiring that he leave the country every 30 days. Once a month, Cespedes takes a journey by boat to Finland. That was until last month, when a storm delayed his departure and he was forced to take the trip two days later, overstaying his Russian visa.

After his request to enter Russia was denied, he sailed back to Finland where he encountered another little problem. While Cespedes has been at sea, his Finnish visa had expired and thus wasn’t allowed to enter.

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He was eventually forced to sail back and forth on the ferry 21 times over a period of 47 days before Russian officials finally allowed him back in on Monday. He is now trying to establish a case of permanent residency within Russia.

According to the BBC, the ferry crew took pity and gave Cespedes free food during his transit hell. In return, the architect worked as an on-board waiter to express his gratitude. Cespedes admitted, “I never thought I couldn’t get off the boat at St. Petersburg.”

Erica Ho is a contributor at TIME and the editor of Map Happy. Find her on Twitter at @ericamho and Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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