Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Typhoon Haiyan Wakes the Spirit of Humanity in Shipping, Air Freight and Union Representatives

Good Practice Guide Published as Shipowners, Airlines and Others Rush to Assist with Practical Aid
Shipping News Feature

PHILIPPINES – WORLDWIDE – A very useful Good Practice Guide has just been produced telling the best ways for shipping lines, crewing agencies and other related parties on how to support Filipino seafarers in the wake of the terrible toll inflicted on the archipelago by the passing of Typhoon Haiyan. The Guide, viewable HERE, has been produced by an industry group comprising shipowners, welfare organisations, and unions. Unions affiliated to the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) have been working tirelessly in an effort to replace local government services in the wake of the tragedy by distributing food, drink and other supplies whilst other freight interests are also helping out.

The Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP) is using its training ship the Kapitan Felix Oca to get supplies to the worst affected area for the indefinite future, while the Philippines Seafarers Union (PSU) has been attempting to distribute food and drink in Cebu Province and the island of Leyte. The ITF is also working with ISWAN (the International Seafarers' Welfare and Assistance Network) on practical measures to assist Filipino seafarers who are desperate to find out what has happened to their families. ITF president Paddy Crumlin, commented:

“Our sympathy is with all the victims of this awful event, and our thoughts are with them and all those in the country and around the world who are trying to help them. Unions have taken up the challenge of providing the emergency aid that is needed following this disaster. We in the wider ITF family are supporting them all the way. We commend their inspiring example, and that of all the organisations, agencies, individuals and governments who are working tirelessly to help those affected by this awful tragedy.”

Another industry player is throwing its weight behind the relief effort with freight only airline Cargolux flying to Manila with two of the company’s 747’s carrying supplies from various humanitarian aid organisations on 16 and 19 November and additionally transporting tonnes of clothes, blankets, toys and other urgently needed items that were collected by Cargolux employees, relatives and friends, as well as by the local Philippine community and other groups and citizens of Luxembourg. On very short notice, they collected five tonnes of goods for the first flight and over 12 tonnes for the second.

Luxembourg recycling specialist Horsch Entsorgung S.à r.l. spontaneously offered their help and supplied trucks free-of-charge that ferried the pallets from Cargolux’s collection centre to the CargoCenter for loading onto the airline’s freighters. Richard Forson, Cargolux Interim President and CEO commented that the operation was a tribute to his company’s human spirit with a response whose rapidity amazed him whilst the airline’s Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing, Robert van de Weg, commented:

“We all have been touched by the pain and suffering of the Philippine people, the devastation there is beyond imagination. I thank the people in our organisation, our handling partner Luxair and our General Sales Agent in the Philippines, Wallem Philippines Shipping Inc., who made these flights possible in the shortest possible time frame.”

Photo: Courtesy of the ITF