The following urgent request for assistance has come in from Ken Hawkins, Executive Director of Mission to Seafarers, Seattle:
As we celebrate our traditional day of Thanksgiving we are aware that those at sea may not be nearly so fortunate: Just last week we were asked to intervene on behalf of the crews of two international tugboats abandoned in North Seattle. Adding to this crisis: The crew, all twelve of them–from Mexico and Panama–expressed despair and desperation as they lost two months of pay (over $90,000). These wonderful and humble souls are in legal limbo while the U.S. Government, and Mexican and Panamanian Consulates, lawyers, and the International Transportation Worker’s Federation (ITF) sort out their immediate future.
SO while they wait, we are providing thousands of dollars’ worth of basic necessities such as food, water, SIM cards, blankets, hats, and our traditional ditty bags (which include several months supply of toiletries, cards, and candy, plus a beautiful hand knitted stocking cap). We are also providing a little financial support to help ease their worry.
But we really need your help: Our support for a stranded Hanjin ship last fall and this recent episode have stretched our Mission budget. So without your assistance and contributions, it difficult to help ease their distress while lawyers and the ITF work to hold the guilty party accountable and get the wages of the crew reimbursed.
Often our friends and neighbors ask me what exactly what we do at Mission to Seafarers. Well, sometimes we sit with lonely and frustrated sailors who are far from home and who need our kindness, a warm welcome, and a few moments of peace. We sell phone cards and SIM cards that connect more than 10,000 seafarers with their families each year. We offer the physical space of our Center on the Duwamish River near Terminal 5 for seafarers who need a quiet, warm, and safe place to rest. With four vans our crew of dedicated volunteer drivers also provide over 15,000 rides each year to Seattle City Center and local shopping. And occasionally our interns and our ship visitors lead the way as we help to fight human rights abuses and support workers poorly paid and mistreated.
When you donate to our Mission, you are showing these workers that we care. More than that, these sailors–alone, but not forgotten, abandoned by the ship’s management, but not by us–are more than grateful for your generosity.
Thank you for your continued support of the Mission to Seafarers! Donations can be accepted online (www.mts-seattle.org) or in writing, addressed to:
Mission to the Seafarers
3568 West Marginal Way SW
Seattle, WA 98106.
Executive Director, Mission to Seafarers