British Columbia

Hanjin Scarlet crew to receive carols, holiday care packages

Care packages and carolers are on their way to the crew of the Hanjin Scarlet,whose vessel has been stuck in B.C. waters for three and a half months.

Many of the crew have been stuck on ship since early September when owner Hanjin filed for bankrupty

The crew of the Hanjin Scarlet have been stuck in B.C. waters since late August, when the shipping company that owned the vessel went bankrupt. (George Baker/CBC)

Care packages and carolers are on their way to the crew of the Hanjin Scarlet, some of whom have been stuck onboard their vessel in B.C. waters for three and a half months.

The ship has been in legal limbo since its owner, shipping giant Hanjin, filed for bankruptcy in late August. Thirteen crew members were able to go home in late October, but a similar number have not been able to leave the ship since the bankruptcy.

Now, with the holidays approaching and cold weather setting in, the B.C. Ferry and Marine Workers' Union and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, along with the Victoria Filipino Canadian Association, are preparing care packages for the crew to be delivered next week.

"Warm clothing is probably an issue," said Kevin Lee, vice president of the union. "They weren't expecting to be in this kind of weather for an extended period of time, so we are collecting work gear that can be used in cold weather."

In addition to clothing, Lee said the union is also collecting entertainment items like DVDs, video games and board games to help the crew keep their spirits up.

A taste of home

Lee said the Scarlet is currently moored about a nautical mile from Lyall Harbour on Saturna Island, in the Southern Gulf Islands between Vancouver and Victoria.

The crew hail from South Korea and the Philippines. The Victoria Filipino Canadian Association is hoping to include a taste of home for them in the delivery.

In addition to clothing, canned food and rice, the association is also collecting Filipino food and desserts for the crew, as well as cash for them to send home to their families.

"I feel for them, just staying there in the ocean," said Agnes Myhre, president of the association. "The are so near with us, yet so far, because of what is going on with the ship."

And there will be a bit of holiday cheer on deck too — a group of carolers from Pender Island are planning a trip to the ship Friday.

The union plans to deliver the care package on Dec. 20. Donations are being collected at the Bayanihan Community Centre in Victoria, the B.C. Ferry and Marine Workers' Union office in Nanaimo, and the Maritime Labour Centre in Vancouver.

With files from Megan Thomas.