OCTOBER 12, 2015—The Seafarers International Union (SIU) has launched a voluntary fund to help the dependents of the seafarers who perished in the sinking of the U.S.-flag containership El Faro. SIU Secretary-Treasurer David Heindel announced the creation of the fund.
The 790 ft El Faro was en route from Jacksonville, FL to San Juan Puerto Rico on Oct. 1 when it was caught in Hurricane Joaquin—a category 4 hurricane. It is believed to have sank in waters 15,000 feet deep near the Crooked Islands in the Bahamas. There was a crew of 28 and five Polish nationals onboard. No survivors have been found.
Contributions to the Seafarers El Faro Assistance Fund may be made by visiting SIU home page http://www.seafarers.org/ and clicking on the "Donate" button. The SIU has applied for tax-exempt status (meaning contributions would be tax-deductible) and will confirm that status once it’s official.
The fund’s purpose is to help meet some of the unanticipated financial hardships faced by the families. Virtually any individual or organization may donate. SIU says 100 percent of the donations will go towards grants for the families.
In order to be a beneficiary of the fund, an individual must have been a dependent of a crew member. Applications will be available at SIU headquarters and the SIU union hall in Jacksonville, FL.
The SIU, Atlantic, Gulf, Lakes and Inland Waters, AFL-CIO, represents professional United States merchant mariners sailing aboard U.S.-flag vessels in the deep sea, Great Lakes and inland trades.