Stranded Pinoy seafarers celebrate holidays

Marieton Pacheco, ABS-CBN News, Canada

Posted at Dec 23 2016 12:08 PM

VANCOUVER - A group of Filipinos decided to bring some holiday cheer to 10 Pinoy sailors among the 16-crew of the Hanjin Scarlet Ship stranded in international waters, a few miles off Victoria in the Georgia Straight in British Columbia.

Kabababayans from the Filipino community in Victoria, with the help of BC ferries, played Santa by bringing the seafarers Pinoy food staples 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.

“Yung mga Pilipino, taus-pusong nagbigay ng tulong sa amin, hanggang langit po ang pasasalamat namin,” said crew member, Chef Carlo. “Sana makarating kay God ang pasasalamat namin sa inyo.”

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-disembark yung mga tao pag tapos nang 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 bumaba pag natapos na ang kontrata.”

Annette Beech of the Caregivers and TFWs group, was among the volunteers from Victoria. She said 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 nakaka-usap 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.

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