Maritime Labor Mourns René Lioeanjie (4/13)

 

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The SIU sadly announces the passing of René Lioeanjie, who died April 10 in Panama. Lioeanjie was 89; he served as vice president at large of the Seafarers International Union of North America until his retirement in 2009. He was president of the National Maritime Union when that organization merged into the SIU in 2001.

 

A native of Dutch Guyana, Lioeanjie went to the United States in 1945 after sailing on Dutch-flag ships and immediately started sailing aboard American-flag vessels. He sailed as an ordinary seaman, deck storekeeper, quartermaster and bosun until he went ashore in 1955 as chief, master of arms at the New York headquarters of the NMU.

 

Moving up within the union, Lioeanjie was responsible for some groundbreaking activities and frequently represented the NMU on innovative projects—always aimed at improving the working conditions of all mariners.

 

He tackled the job of working with crews on flag-of-convenience vessels and later was appointed organizer for the International Maritime Workers Union, an organization formed by the NMU and the SIU to organize FOC ships.

 

Lioeanjie then went to organize seamen on the MSTS and Corps of Engineers vessels. He was elected regional director of Latin America and the Caribbean, where he was active in organizing the federal employees in the Panama Canal Zone.

 

Working his way up through the ranks, he served as patrolman, agent, vice president, secretary-treasurer and, in 1997, he was elected the fourth president of the NMU.

 

We’ll have a more complete remembrance in the next edition of the Seafarers LOG.

 

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