Sunday, September 18, 2016

Two Dozen Crew Stranded On Hanjin Container Ship Off Victoria

Two dozen crewmen have been stuck for more than two weeks on the Hanjin Vienna, a huge container ship anchored on Constance Bank, south of Victoria, as service agencies in Victoria and Vancouver try to help them out. At the same time, another 24 crewmen are on board a sister ship, Hanjin Scarlet, detained off Prince Rupert since Wednesday. The Vienna was at Deltaport Terminal at Roberts Bank when it was detained on Sept. 1 as creditors seeking at least $3.6 million went to federal court against its owner, Hanjin Shipping, which is in receivership in South Korea. Hanjin Shipping sought court protection from its creditors in South Korea after the creditors rejected a restructuring plan and financiers wouldn’t provide additional credit. Before the Vienna left Roberts Bank, the chaplain for the Mission to Seafarers in Vancouver visited the ship to ensure that everyone was paid, which they had been, said Kathryn Murray, manager of the organization’s Vancouver office, on Friday. “He took them a bunch of bread, fresh vegetables and fruit. They were able to get fresh provisions brought in,” Murray said. From there, the 279-metre-long Vienna went to Constance Bank, where it has been parked ever since, moored outside of shipping lanes. “The captain says that their spirits are good. They have all been able to call home, so their families at least know what is going on,” Murray said. Crewmen were given a card that allows them to exchange a few messages with their families via the Internet, she said.
 The crew is international but Murray could not say what their nationalities are. Now that 16 days have passed, “They are probably starting to run out of fresh supplies,” she said. The Victoria Lighthouse Ministry to Seafarers, which works with the Mission, is watching over the Vienna’s crew, Murray said. Cecil Klue, of the Lighthouse Ministry, was reluctant to provide more information about its role, but in a text message said that two weeks at sea is “very little for a salted sailor.” In Prince Rupert, crewmen came ashore for a time and received phone cards from the Lighthouse Ministry, Murray said. The Salvation Army gave them a “large chunk of money so they were able to buy provisions,” she said. “It’s really a community of helpers. These guys, they are very vulnerable right now.” The Hanjin Scarlet off-loaded cargo at the Port of Prince Rupert’s Fairview Terminal Sept. 7 after terminal operator DP World and CN Rail struck a deal to move stranded cargo due to come off at the port.

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