US grants shore leave to Hanjin crews

Workers’ union ITF welcomes change of heart by US authorities over stranded seafarers.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has welcomed the US government’s decision to grant shore leave to the crew of a Hanjin containership in Seattle.

Late last month the ITF said the refusal to allow the crew of the 4,530-teu Hanjin Seattle (built 2013) during a stop at the port was a “denial of human rights’.

“This decision is an immense relief to the affected crew and we trust that it will apply to all Hanjin crews with bona fide visas who want to avail themselves of their basic right to step ashore,” said ITF seafarers’ section chair Dave Heindel.

“We are all glad that this problem has been addressed and look forward to further discussions with the US authorities on welfare issues such as these; in particular on ensuring that international standards are met.”

 Separately, the ITF said the basic needs of Hanjin crews to receive pay, food and water continue to be addressed by a coalition of the Korean government, ITF member union theFederation of Korean Seafarers’ Unions (FKSU) and the Korean Shipowners’ Association.

“We are glad to be able to continue to report that Hanjin crews remain in good spirits and hopeful of the prospect of further employment,” added Heindel.