Stranded Filipino seafarers celebrate holidays

by Marieton Pacheco, ABS-CBN News, Canada


VANCOUVER — Ten Filipino seafarers are among a 16-men crew of the Hanjin Scarlet Ship stranded in international waters, a few miles off Victoria, in the Georgia Straight in British Columbia. A group of kababayans decided to bring the stranded sailors some holiday cheer.

Kabababayans from the Filipino community in Victoria, with the help of BC ferries, played Santa by bringing the seafarers donations of food — like pancit and pan de sal — warm clothing, and even a Christmas tree.

The seafarers have been stranded at sea since August, after their shipping company Hanjin, declared bankruptcy.

“3’04 yung mga Pilipinos taos pusong nagbigay ng tulong sa amin, hanggang langit po ang pasasalamat namiin,” said crew member, Chef Carlo. “Sana makarating kay God ang pasasalamat namin sa inyo.”

Kababayans say that while food, internet, and monthly salaries are still being provided, there is great uncertainty on when they can leave the ship.

A few of the seafarer’s contracts are ending in January.

“Yung mabigyan ng tamang oras ng pag-disempabrk yung mga tao pag tapos na ang kontrata. Yung pagkain walang problema, yung sweldo walang problema,” said Carlo on the situation. “We are looking at the assurance of the company, kasi kailangan din naming bumama pag natapos an ang kontrata.”

Annette Beech, of the Caregivers and TFWs group, was among the volunteers from Victoria.

She says it was heartbreaking to see fellow kababayans in their predicament.

“I feel so bad for them, I feel sorry for them. It really breaks my heart. Kasi makikita mo na nakaklausap nila sa wifi pamilya nila, but they cannot go home. They’re supposed to be home now, but they can’t.They don’t know what’s gonna happen,” Beech said.

Despite the uncertainty, these Pinoys are still celebrating the holidays away from home in their own way, thanks to the thoughtfulness of fellow kababayans.


2 Comments on this post.

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  • Santiago Del Mundo
    23 December 2016 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    While having a good time in a Korean bar, some Filipino seafarers were getting “pissy” because of jealousy…It was because the gorgeous Pinays working in the club did not want to let go of the good looking Pinoy soldiers station there…

  • Max
    24 December 2016 at 12:20 pm - Reply

    Take the risk,find a wife or jump ship, you have a better future here then going back home…