SIU Remains Active in Hurricane Relief Operations


December 2017


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The SIU is continuing to help collect, transport and deliver hurricane relief supplies to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), in addition to assisting victims on the U.S. mainland.


Seafarers-contracted vessel operators Crowley Maritime and Tote Maritime, respectively, are playing leading roles in the ongoing effort in Puerto Rico, while other labor organizations and the AFL-CIO also are significantly contributing to what is sure to be a years-long endeavor.


Working with the labor federation and other unions (both maritime and non-maritime), the SIU continues collecting relief cargoes in Houston; Philadelphia; Jacksonville, Florida and elsewhere. The SIU also (as previously announced) established a new fund to assist Seafarers and retirees living in areas affected by the recent hurricanes (this includes SIU affiliates). The fund’s name is Seafarers Disaster Aid Fund.


Click on the PayPal link on the SIU home page (www. in order to donate. If donating by check, please make it out to Seafarers Disaster Aid Fund and mail to: Seafarers Disaster Aid Fund, c/o SIU Secretary-Treasurer, 5201 Auth Way, Camp Springs, MD 20746.


Unlike prior relief funds set up by the union, the plan is to make the Seafarers Disaster Aid Fund a permanent entity. This should help expedite donations and payments in the future.


Also, SIU members who are enrolled in the Seafarers Money Purchase Pension Plan (SMPPP) and who have suffered losses due to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma or Maria now have the option to withdraw a portion of their account balance. SMPPP trustees approved this option for hardship withdrawals after learning about the number of members who have suffered substantial losses. The hardship withdrawal allowance period will end at the trustees’ discretion, once the situation in the affected areas improves. (For more information, SIU members should contact their port agent. Also, be sure to discuss potential tax implications, if any, with your tax preparer.)


While Puerto Rico understandably has garnered most of the headlines following the spate of hurricanes, Texas also is facing a long, costly recovery. One news outlet noted that the Houston region has cleared “enough post-flood debris from its neighborhoods to fill 700 Olympic-size pools.”


More significantly, two months after Hurricane Harvey battered Texas, tens of thousands of people remained in temporary housing, and not all schools had reopened. By some estimates, Harvey caused approximately $73.5 billion in economic losses, making it the second-costliest natural disaster in U.S. history (after only Hurricane Katrina).


Estimates of Maria’s economic impact are also gigantic, ranging from $45-$95 billion. Irma, too, is expected to cost tens of billions of dollars in recovery.

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