Union Mourns Loss of Bosun Munassar

 

March 2014

 

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Tragedy struck the union Feb. 9 when Bosun Khaled Munassar was reportedly washed overboard from the Sealand Intrepid and lost at sea in severe weather, some 500 miles from Japan. His body wasn’t recovered despite an exhaustive search by the Intrepid and a follow-up effort by another Maersk Line, Limited (MLL) ship diverted to the area.

 

Brother Munassar was just 37 years old but was a lifelong Seafarer, having joined the union as a teenager. He leaves behind a wife and three children in addition to a father and brother who also sail SIU.

 

In a letter to everyone aboard the Intrepid, SIU President Michael Sacco wrote, “On behalf of the entire SIU, I am writing to extend our heartfelt condolences on the passing of our brother, Bosun Khaled Ghaleb Munassar, and to thank you for your valiant efforts in searching for him. This is a terrible loss for all of us – I’ve often said that we are more like a family than a union, and with Brother Munassar’s death, we have lost a family member.

 

“I know that Maersk is offering resources to help cope with this tragedy, and I encourage you to take advantage of them,” the letter continued. “Also, while we all understand there are inherent dangers that are part of going to sea, the SIU will do everything in our power to minimize or eliminate the chances of anything like this happening again.”

 

The SIU president sent SIU Vice President Contracts George Tricker to meet the ship in mid-February when it returned to the U.S., on the West Coast.

 

Ed Hanley, vice president of labor relations for MLL, also wrote to the crew in addition to sending other communications. In part, he wrote, “The extended Maersk Line, Limited community afloat and ashore is saddened and diminished by this tragedy. As his shipmates you fought hard all day in very heavy weather and did everything you could to search for Khaled. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all, and especially with his family during this most difficult time.”

 

The SIU and the company also reached out to Brother Munassar’s family to offer condolences and support.

 

Brother Munassar was born in Yemen but became a U.S. citizen. He joined the union in 1994 and first sailed aboard the old cruise ship Independence. Among his most recent ships besides the Intrepid were the Overseas Boston and Sealand Charger.

 

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