On hearing of the recent earthquake in West Java, Indonesia, which has left at least 59 dead and many hundreds more injured, missing or homeless, the Maritime Union has sent a message of solidarity to the Indonesian Seafarers' Union (KPI).
In his letter to Hanafi Rustandi, General Secretary of KPI National Secretary Paddy Crumlin conveyed the union's concern for Indonesian workers and their families affected by the disaster.
"On behalf of all of your comrades in the Maritime Union of Australia and the ITF Australian family I take this opportunity to extend our most heart felt concerns for the Indonesian people suffering from the devastating effects of the recent earthquake," he wrote.
"Brother, we wish all of the Indonesian people well in the following months and years as they seek to rebuild their lives and we extend the hand of international solidarity and support to those members of the KPI in these most difficult times."
In response Hanafi Rustandi recounted the two unions long history of solidarity beginning with the bans on Dutch arms shipments out of Sydney during the Indonesian independence struggle in the forties.
"Without the support of Australian maritime workers our history would be different," he said. "Paddy is a great leader representing true and genuine workers. His effort to organise global solidarity comes from his heart and experience."
MUA journalist Zoe Reynolds has just returned from Jakarta where she met with both Indonesian dock workers and seafarers. Their stories and struggles will feature in the upcoming Maritime Workers' Journal.
"I fully appreciate the MUA sending Zoe to Jakarta," said Hanafi. "She can speak the truth. She is not afraid to find and talk about the facts. Thanks to Paddy for his attention. I and the entire membership of my Union wish him all the best; I will follow him always, fight from the front and support my union. An injury to one injury to all. God bless Australia. Thank you, In Solidarity, Hanafi Rustandi."