Seafarers' International Union of Canada Supports Fellow Seafarers in Their Strike

Crew abandoned without wages, food and water aboard the Liberian flagged vessel, Fritz, in Oshawa Harbor

THOROLD, ON, July 14, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - Seafarers' International Union of Canada (S.I.U), the most important sailors' union in Canada, representing the majority of unlicensed sailors working aboard vessels across Canada, today announced that it will stand alongside its brothers as they strike aboard the Liberian registered vessel, Fritz. 

The Fritz, currently in the Port of Oshawa, Ontario, has been effectively abandoned by its' owner, German company Intersee Schiffahrtsgeselischaft.  The crew, which includes 18 Romanians and one Russian captain, has been denied wages since April, and was out of food and fresh water.  Taking desperate measures, the crew began hailing passing fishermen for fishing gear in hopes of catching their next meal.  They also contacted International Transport Workers' Federation, ITF, Inspector Vince Giannopoulos, who, with the help of Judith Alltree from the Mission to Seafarers, organized for a Romanian Orthodox priest to board the vessel and listen to the crew as they recounted their ordeal.  The S.I.U., an ITF affiliate union, has worked closely with the ITF to ensure that the best interests of seafarers are represented and that their rights are protected.

"It is unfathomable that a vessel crew could be left in this state.  The S.I.U. will do whatever is needed to ensure that these Seafarers are taken care of and that their needs are attended to," said James Given, President, S.I.U.   "It is ultimately the responsibility of the vessel owner to look after the crew but, failing that, Seafarers look after each other and this crew deserves some dignity after what they have been through.  The S.I.U. of Canada stands proudly alongside this crew as they strike against the exploitation which they have endured."  He went on to say that "the International Transport Workers Federation is the world leader in insuring that the rights of Seafarers are respected and we are proud to be affiliated to them".

The Fritz crew has been on strike since Friday, July 11 and is currently awaiting back pay of wages.  Vince Giannopoulos, ITF Inspector said, "No human beings should be treated like this, not on land and not at sea". 

About the Seafarers' International Union of CanadaA Sailors' Union by Sailors for the benefit of Sailors.  The Seafarers' International Union of Canada has been serving unlicensed seafarers since 1938 and is affiliated with the Seafarers' International Union of North America, presently representing 60,000 unlicensed seafarers across the continent. The most important sailors' union in Canada, the Seafarers' International Union, better known as the S.I.U., represents the majority of unlicensed sailors working aboard vessels on the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, on the East Coast and the West Coast and in the Arctic.  In addition to vessels operated in Canadian waters, S.I.U. members also have the opportunity to work aboard vessels delivering cargoes in the United StatesEurope and South America.

SOURCE: Seafarers' International Union of Canada

For further information:

Verena Garofalo
Director, Marketing & Public Relations
Seafarers' International Union of Canada
T: 1-514-830-7391

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