The SIU is calling on the Government of Canada to ensure supplies continue to be delivered to Newfoundlanders

April 14, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MONTREAL, QC – APRIL 14, 2020 – The Seafarers’ International Union of Canada (SIU) is calling on the federal government to aid Oceanex Inc. in order to keep vital supply vessels running to St. John’s, Newfoundland. Oceanex is a leading transporter of goods to Newfoundland and provides vital food and medicine to the province. The COVID-19 global pandemic is forcing the company to tie up its fleet of ships, which would result in the inability to deliver as much as half of the Province’s food supply.

Not only would the tie-up of certain Oceanex vessels result in hundreds of seafarers losing their jobs, it would result in a large amount of food and vital supplies to Newfoundlanders to be left undelivered. The COVID-19 pandemic is creating uncertainty and worry for many throughout our country, but now is the time for the Government of Canada to step up and help out a company that is absolutely critical to the livelihood of many in Newfoundland.

“Seafarers’ International Union of Canada Members working on Oceanex vessels have been providing the people of Newfoundland with a constant and reliable flow of goods for years. Newfoundlanders have always counted on the SIU and Oceanex to deliver. From perishable goods, medical supplies, construction materials to cars, Oceanex has provided everything to help build Newfoundland and to keep the Island on the move”, said Patrice Caron, Executive Vice-President of the Seafarers’ International Union of Canada. “Newfoundlanders are known to be a resilient population, but in these difficult times, Governments must turn to a trusted, well-established company to ensure the safety of its population.”

Given the importance of Oceanex’s services to communities within Newfoundland and Labrador, it is clear that the Government must step up now to ensure the continued operation of the Oceanex fleet. The safety and wellbeing of Newfoundlanders should be just as important as any other Province within Canada, and as a country we must do all that we can to make sure the people in these communities are well taken care of.

“Taking into account the current circumstances, now is not the time to turn our backs on the people and companies essential to the wellbeing of Canadian communities,” stated SIU Canada President James Given. “We all know Oceanex has maintained impeccable service to Newfoundland for over 100 years, even against unfair competition. During this pandemic, when the island is relying on them to deliver food and medicine, the Federal Government must step up and ensure this vital service survives. Oceanex will be needed long after COVID-19 is gone.”

About the SIU of Canada: The Seafarers’ International Union of Canada (SIU) is affiliated with the Seafarers’ International Union of North America serving unlicensed sailors since 1938. The SIU has been representing seafarers working on board vessels on the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River, East Coast, and West Coast since 1954. SIU members have acquired the reputation of being amongst the best-trained and most qualified sailors in the world. The SIU represents thousands of qualified Canadian seafarers across Canada.

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