Hanjin Shipping, the South Korean shipping giant and the world’s seventh-largest container line, filed for receivership last month, putting thousands of seafarering jobs at risk. Some port authorities are refusing entry, as the ships could be arrested on arrival, with the financial situation at such a critical stage and the while funds to unload the ships remain in doubt.
Ken Peters, Director of Justice and Public Affairs, The Mission to Seafarers, said: “Today we have written a letter offering our support to Hanjin Shipping and their seafarers. If the ships continue to be blocked from entering port, there could be a welfare crisis for these seafarers, as vessels will quickly run out of food, fuel and essential provisions. Seafarers will be very anxious and their families at home will be concerned and distressed. The Mission to Seafarers has now issued a global alert to all our 200 port welfare teams to be ready to assist Hanjin seafarers when they come into port. We have also asked Hanjin to publish the global Seafarer Helpline details to all their crewing agencies, so that should seafarers have an emergency, they can quickly find help.”
Simon Ro, Port Chaplain Busan South Korea (photo above), The Mission to Seafarers, said: “We have Hanjin vessels currently waiting at Busan port. Our ‘Flying Angels’ ship-visiting group, which is made up of 10 volunteers from the Korea Maritime and Ocean University (KMOU), have been visiting on board. They report that seafarers are worried about their wages and are concerned that there have been calls from some officials for the crews to be sent home. They have also told me that there is concern about shortages of supplies on board.”
You can find out more about Seafarer Help, which offers seafarers 24/7 assistance, 365 days per year here:
Seafarers can speak to SeafarerHelp toll free on 00 800 7323 2737. There are also options to live chat, SMS, Skype, email and request a call back.