Sailors stranded at Port of Felixstowe during strike
The container ship George Washington Bridge in Felixstowe was due to leave the port the day before the strike began on August 20, but the departure was delayed and the sailors remained on the ship once the strike began on Sunday.
Stella Maris chaplain Julian Wong had visited the ship on August 19 before the strike began and left contact details. With the ship still stuck in port after the strike began, the chaplain again visited the ship and her crew on 24 August.
“They were all fine and some said they would like to go to town as they had been on board, within the port enclosure, for a few days now,” Wong said.
“I transported six sailors. Three of them stopped at the Seafarers Center and then drove into town and I drove the other three into town to the post office. They needed to exchange currency and wanted to do some shopping.
The stay extended on George Washington Bridge provided a long-awaited opportunity for a Filipino sailor to reunite with his brother, who lives in Nottingham, for the first time in seven years.
The brother had traveled to Felixstowe, hoping to meet the sailor. On August 25, Wong was able to drive the sailor to a cafe in town to meet his brother.
“With the ongoing strike, much of people’s attention is understandably focused on operational and business issues. At Stella Maris, we continue to focus on the seafarers who live and work on these ships,” Wong said.
The strike by 1,900 Union Unite members is scheduled for eight days from August 21-28, however, the union has said the strike will intensify unless Felixstowe Docks, run by Hutchison Ports, returns to the table with an improved salary offer.
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