MUA Sends Message of Solidarity to SIU in Light of Missing US Ship

As the search for crew from the missing El Faro continues the MUA has sent a message of solidarity to the North American Seafarers International Union.

The missing cargo ship El Faro probably sank after it was caught in the path of hurricane Joaquin, a US coast guard spokesman said on Monday. One body has been discovered, with 32 crew members still missing, according to the Guardian. Full story here

The 790ft container vessel reportedly had 33 people aboard – 28 Americans and five Polish nationals. It had left the Florida port of Jacksonville on Tuesday on a regular supply run bound for San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico.

The SIU released the following statement:

As the search for the El Faro mariners continues, our thoughts and prayers remain with them and their families. In this age when we are all accustomed to instant information and quick answers, it has been an agonizing wait these last few days.

However, we know that the search crews are doing everything possible to locate our brothers and sisters. On behalf of our entire organization, I extend our deepest, most heartfelt thanks to everyone involved in the search, including those from the Coast Guard, Navy and Air Force as well as fellow Seafarers who have been deployed. I’m sure others have also pitched in; I thank every single one of them.

We are supporting the overall effort in every way possible, including hosting meetings at our union hall in Jacksonville, Florida, and doing our best to keep the membership informed. On that note, I thank the team at TOTE Maritime for their outstanding work in providing the most up-to-date information around the clock.

I also want to thank all the SIU members and their families who have reached out in support through social media. The response there has been overwhelming, and at a time when we’ve basically felt helpless, it has been comforting to pull together and share our hopes and feelings and thoughts. Whether on the ships or in the halls or in cyberspace, we remain a family.

MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin said he sent his deepest sentiments of concern support and solidarity on behalf of the MUA and the International Transport Workers' Federation.

"This shocking sinking draws the great demands on seafarers to face the dangers of their profession with courage and determination," Crumlin said.

"The families of the missing seafarers and the communities they come from are in the forefront of our thoughts and prayers and it would be deeply appreciated if this could be passed on to them.

"Again on behalf of both the ITF and the Maritime Union of Australia we wish to reach out to you over the missing seafarers, their families and the brotherhood and sisterhood of the SIU and wish to assure you that we watch and wait with you around the world with all of our thoughts, hopes and deep concern and sincere appreciation for you at this terrible time."

SIU Secretary Treasurer Dave Heindel thanked the MUA and ITF for the messages of sympathy and solidarity.

"It is times like this that we as seafarers are reminded that with all the training and experience we acquire throughout our careers we are still subject to the dangers and imminent perils of the sea," Heindel said.

"We maintain hope that our sisters and brothers will be found safe.

"Your thoughts and sentiments are highly appreciated by all within the SIU and gives us greater hope knowing that we are truly a Brotherhood of the Sea."