As the maritime industry rallies to assist colleagues, friends and family in the Philippines, InterManager is calling on its members to do all they can to help.
In particular, members are urged to help worried Filipino seafarers who are desperate for news from home by giving them free phone time.
InterManager Secretary General Captain Kuba Szymanski said: “I appeal to all our members to encourage them to allow for five minutes phone calls home. Small gestures like this will go a long way towards helping ease troubled minds.”
InterManager President Gerardo Borromeo, who is based in Manila, escaped the worst of the storm though many of his staff at Philippine Transmarine Carriers (PTC) have been directly affected.
PTC is sending staff to badly affected areas in the ravaged Visayas region of central Philippines, where many of its crew come from, with satellite phones to enable its seafarers to make contact with their loved ones.
Mr Borromeo said: “We are organising teams to go to the different key cities across the Visayas with satellite phones and hope to establish contact with crew and family. As power gets restored we will try and use the local radio stations to broadcast messages relative to our crew and offer a means to communicate with family and extend whtever help we can muster.”
“This will be a slow and painful process I’m afraid,” he added. “The Philippines has certainly been through a lot and these types of events are not new to the people, but this last one is unprecedented in its magnitude. This will be a real test to see how far our economy has gone and to see how strong the continued resiliency of the government and people are as well. I am confident though that, despite this latest challenge, we will again make it through but it will be an involved rebuilding process.”