30 Japanese Dock Workers, 142 Public Transport Workers Feared Dead

More than 30 dockworkes are still missing and the vast majority from the Sendai Shiogama port, their union Zenkowan reports.

More than 30 dockworkes are still missing and the vast majority from the Sendai Shiogama port, their union Zenkowan reports. Eleven union members of the All Japan Checkers Cooperation are still missing, nine members are missing at Japan Cargo Tally Cooperation and 142 public transport workers in Miyagi Kotsu or 10 per cent of union membership are lost, feared swept out to sea

An SMS from the branch secretary, Brother Yamaji from Sendai on yesterday said: "More than a dozen members are missing. The port is annihilated. The petrochemical complex has exploded and not a single container is left in the yard. Many members have lost their homes. Public transport is paralysed".

Meanwhile Fairplay reports shipping companies with vessels sailing to Japan are taking varied precautions in view of the country's threatened nuclear meltdowns, with NOL line giving the nuclear plants a 200 nautical mile exclusion zone.

Maersk (Asia Pacific Region) CEO Thomas Knudsen told Fairplay: "Every shipping company that is doing business in Japan would be monitoring the radiation levels. Our office in Japan is operating normally, and staff there are looking at the hourly news updates."

Knudsen said Maersk's shipments to Japan have been unaffected, with all but 10% of these unloaded outside the danger zone, at Kobe, Yokohama, Osaka and Tokyo.

All in all 16 Japanese ports remain closed due to earthquake damage.

MUA National Secretary and ITF President National Secretary wrote to affiliates on Monday extending solidarity and pledging support.

In response Kinichiro Itoya, President, National Federation of Dockworkers Unions of Japan(Zenkoku Kowan) thanked the President on behalf of members.

"I would like to express my appreciation for your warmth messages, Mr Itoya said. "We couldn't get enough about the impact on these areas exactly still now that how many our members are affected or port facilty and casualty or injured so on. We are try to investigating the situations.

When I define the situations then I would like to ask some support from your side."

The closure of the ports was expected to cost Japan more than US$3.4 billion in lost seaborne trade each day, according to shipping trade publication Lloyd's List Intelligence. Maritime trade in the world's No 3 economy totalled US$1.5 trillion last year.

"The north-east coast ports of Hachinohe, Sendai, Ishinomaki and Onahama were so severely damaged by Friday's disaster that they were not expected to return to operation for months, if not years. The ports were medium-sized facilities that handled mostly containers, but also some fuel products and dry bulk goods,"