The current conditions on several Hanjin vessels stranded off the US coast have reached a stage which, according to the International Transport Workers' Federation, ITF, is a violation of human rights.
In Seattle this week the situation has evolved into protests from outraged port workers, as the crew on board container ship Hanjin Marine from the gangway appealed to the public by holding a sign that said "We deserve shore leave," writes ITF in a press release.
This development triggered outrage among members of the powerful International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), which reacted to the Hanjin officers' actions by arranging spontaneous protests on the quay through which the port workers expressed their support for the ship's crew members with cheers and by sounding horns.
ITF inspector Jeff Engels has been on board Hanjin Marine, and he notes that the crew has food for a couple of months, and that they are being paid. The problem is that the US authorities, represented by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), is refusing the crew shore leave while they are waiting to determine what will happen to the ship.
"I phoned them (CBP, -ed.) several times, and had others phone them but they still insisted that the crew was a possible threat to try and jump ship due to the Hanjin situation. I countered with the fact that shore leave was a human right and that the seafarers should not be made to suffer due to the Hanjin situation, which had nothing to do with their simple desire to walk around, smell a tree and visit the local seafarers center. They still did not budge."
During this week the number of stranded Hanjin Shipping container vessels has dropped from 60 to 47, reports Alphaliner. On September 23 the first Hanjin vessel since the carrier entered receivership was cleared to transit the Suez Canal and can now arrive in New York three weeks late.
A series of loans from stakeholders such as the former and current Chairmen in Hanjin Shipping, as well as from majority shareholder Korean Air, will now help pay for the unloading of the carrier's vessels.