Local mariners and Filipino community leaders in Victoria, B.C. have been working to make Christmas a bit merrier for the stranded crew of the Hanjin Scarlet, which is at anchor and awaiting orders in the Southern Gulf Islands. The vessel has been idle since Hanjin Shipping collapsed at the end of August, and the crewmembers still do not know when they will be able to return home.
Crewmember Chef Carlo told ABS CBN that the conditions on board are good: their salaries are being paid, and they have food, water, internet access and movies. But uncertainty remains as to the Scarlet's future. Several of the men have contracts expiring next month, and Carlo said that they hoped that they would be able to decrew as planned.
Local seafarers’ unions and community associations were aware of the men's predicament, and they decided that if the crew couldn't leave the ship for Christmas, they would bring Christmas to the ship. “When we heard there were some Filipino crews, we thought, we have to step up,” said Dominga Passmore of the Victoria Filipino Canadian Association, speaking to the Times-Colonist. “We want them to know there’s someone who’s thinking of you and cares for you and you’re not alone.”
Passmore found that she was not alone. All together, the B.C. Ferry and Marine Worker's Union, the nearby Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue station, boat operator Tymac Launch Service, and the local branches of the International Transport Workers' Federation and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union joined in the effort to supply the Scarlet with holiday cheer.
Two launches ferried out about one tonne of provisions, including warm clothing, new DVDs, games, traditional food, a tree and even a 40-pound pig, plus the charcoal to roast it. In addition, the Scarlet received a visit from members of the Pender Island Choral Society, who came by to pay their respects and to join in a round of Christmas carolling.