This Month in SIU History

October 2010

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Reprinted from past issues of the Seafarers LOG


Two crew members of the SS Citrus Packer have been reported killed in Korea, according to a letter received by the LOG this week from the ship’s deck delegate. The dead Seafarers are George W. Miller, 25, and Lewis W. High, both slain by North Korean gunfire along the invasion road between Inchon and Seoul. The report to the LOG states that the two Seafarers left their ship when it docked in Inchon on October 1 and were never seen again. Four days later when the ship sailed the two ABs were reported missing to Army authorities. When the vessel arrived in Yokohama the skipper was notified that their bodies had been found.


The full details of the fate which befell the men came out later when the ship stopped in Pusan. Crew members by chance met soldiers returned from the front who had been in the area where the men had been lost…. The GIs told the crew that the men had been found shot to death on the road outside of Inchon, near the village of Yung Dung Po. The men had been riding in a jeep and were presumably killed by North Korean snipers from ambush.


Firm action by the SIU at payoff time has won more than 1,700 hours of overtime pay for crewmen of the Orion Planet, who were obliged to work on a refueling-at-sea operation involving the Planet and a Navy tanker. As a result of the action by SIU headquarters and the Norfolk hall, the crew members received some $3,500 in extra cash for performing an operation which is fairly new in the civilian merchant marine and not yet covered by the standard SIU tanker or dry cargo agreements. The SIU maintained, however, that the work should properly be classed as OT.


With a stroke of the Presidential pen, the Merchant Marine Act of 1970 became the law of the land in October. The act, incorporating many provisions backed by the Seafarers International Union, had passed both Houses of Congress by substantial majorities before it was sent to President Richard M. Nixon for signature. At the signing in the Cabinet Room of the White House, President Nixon, surrounded by top officials and labor leaders, said the bill marked the beginning of a new era for the troubled maritime industry and opened the prospect of revitalization of the U.S.-flag merchant fleet. In particular the bill will benefit SIU men by means of its provision to construct 300 new ships for the foreign trade in the next 10 years.


October 8 was a big day for Philadelphia and a big day for SIU boatmen in the Philadelphia area. On that Wednesday afternoon no fewer than 10 SIU-contracted tugs helped guide the huge Navy aircraft carrier USS Saratoga on the last leg of her journey to Sun Shipyard in Chester, Pa. The Saratoga is slated for a major overhaul at the shipyard, a refurbishing that will cost at least a half billion dollars.

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