Union calls for donations and messages of solidarity.
Joe Fleetwood, General Secretary Maritime Union of New Zealand is a tough man. But when he got up to address the WA Maritime Union state conference in Fremantle yesterday he held back emotion.
"I've feel like I've been dealt a blow, comrades," he said "There's 65 counted dead on day one and no end in sight. I hear the Port of Littleton has been swallowed into the ground."
Conference stood for a minutes silence, the branch pledged $5,000. MUA national secretary and president of the International Transport Workers Federation Paddy Crumlin called for a national union fundraiser; pledges started coming in from ship's rolling funds and the wharves.
MUA WA organiser, New Zealander Grant Couch flew home and wrote the following first hand account from his home town:
Comrades, It has been a hectic 24hrs and I'm about to leave for airport.
I have been in contact with all the Maori Communities from the lower south island and have arranged for a van and trailer at Dunedin Airport.
Dunedin is about 360km south of Christchurch.
The local Maori communities have also donated food stuffs, water, blankets and shelter which I will take to Christchurch and distribute to the worst affected communities.
I have heard that my property is completely destroyed by two boulders going straight thru the house and one hit my father as it went thru his room. He is faring okay from what I hear. But with a hole in his heart and a past heart attack it will be a nervous time. But he is in good care.
The local community where my house is has been almost completely devastated and everybody is in shock.
The home next door has been cut in half by a boulder. The national TV news is there at the moment so if you see a bay called Rapaki on the news, well that’s my house that they are going thru.
All but my brother have lost everything and can’t even get into their houses for food or clothing.
I have had many texts of support from the members which has been great, and I want to thank everybody for the support and Chris and the MUA for what they have done.
I am not looking forward to what awaits me but I am ready. Once I have made sure my family is okay I will be getting out and helping my community as I believe there are people still trapped in their homes and businesses.
I will send you some photos when I get there.
Once again thanks to everybody and the members for passing a vote of support.
In Unity as always
National Office of the Maritime Union has set up the following account for members and ships wishing to contribute to their brothers and sisters struck by the quake. Ian Bray, Assistant National Secretary is co-ordinating the fundraiser.
The account number for donations is Mining, Maritime and Power Credit Union
802-884 4626 S2
Account number for external transfer (non credit union member):
Account Number 100 011 251 - NZ Earthquake
Account details for International Transfers: MUA - General Fund
BSB Number: 062-006
Account number: 1001 0464
CBA Swiftcode: CTBAAU2S
Bank Address: George Street, Haymarket NSW 2000 AUSTRALIA
Reference for lodgement: NZ Earthquake